Saturday, July 19, 2008

A soldier's past

The neatest thing happened to my daughter this week. Her boyfriend had noticed a "trunk" laying at the side of the road. He was compelled to the trunk for some reason and stopped to look at it. It appeared to be a metal trunk, completely locked and left as garbage. He thought, at a minimum, the metal trunk could be given to the scrap yard if it proved to be nothing, but was in interesting enough looking trunk, to investigate further.

As my daughter was at work, he wrestled with the trunk and finally got it open. Inside, was paperwork explaining the life of a soldier. LCPL Jerry E Samson, had joined the Marine Corp. in 1969. He served in the Vietnam War for three weeks.

In the trunk, was a Western Union letter to his family, informing them that Jerry had died while serving his country, due to shrapnel to the head. He died on March 18, 1969 along with another soldier. In the trunk was also a certificate of purple heart, a letter signed by President Nixon, and some letters both to and from his family. Amount the letters, was one dated three days prior to his death, to his Mother. He never got to mail the letter.

My daughter had checked the phone book and went on line to check some county court records and was not finding any successful leads to the family. She called the local news, who hadn't returned her call yet. It's now been five days.

I decided to google this young soldiers name, and low and behold, I found Jerry's web page put up by his family.

The comments are obviously outdated, but through the names and a little effort, I have able to find his sister, her address and her phone number.

My daughter called Linda today, who is approximately 65 years old now, and she burst into tears! My daughter lives about 4 blocks from Linda and was able to drive the belongings over to her. Linda expressed her gratitude and how much she, still, missed her brother today.
Linda referred to my daughter as her "angel".

My grandfather (from Scotland) was in the war in Italy, and my very close friend has two daughters (an M.P. and a combat nurse) in Iraq now. Please remember our soldiers. Not weather you agree or disagree with the war itself, but the actual men and women, serving our country and protecting the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. I ask that you remember not only them, but their families, who are sacrificing too ...... for us.


Iris said...

That's pretty awesome. Does anyone know how the box ended up out on the road? Did someone dump it or maybe were they moving and it fell off the truck?

Once when I was a kid we found a time capsule that some Girl Scouts had buried. I can't really remember what all was in it but I think it had a newspaper from the day they buried it, some patches, a picture of the troupe, and other assorted knickknacks.

mistie said...

What an awesome story!
The world is smaller than we think :)

Sandy..... said...

update: My daughter took the items to the sister. She explained that their father was physically abusive, which is why Jerry ended up joining the Marines to begin with. (to..."get away") He enlisted at 17 yrs old, meaning he needed a parents "waiver" to enlist. His Mother refused - his father told him it's what he needed to "be a man", and let him go.

Mother and father ended up divorcing and father remarried, giving all of Jerry's belongings to his step-sons, refusing to give them to the family.

Father died 5 yrs ago and mother dies 3 years ago. The "step-brother" had become drug addicts and were evicted, which is how the trunk was found.

Linda already had the flag that covered Jerry's casket and a few other items. She also had Jerry's purple heart medal and now has the certificate and all of the other belongings together, finally.

anni said...

Thanks for the nice comments on my blog.

This story is amazing! I am so glad that the trunk was returned. I have a stepson serving in Afgahnastan (spelling?) right now. He was home for the last two weeks on leave and he must left yesterday to go back. We are praying for him daily.
Thanks for the lovely post.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an amazing story. Veterans have a special place in my heart. I can only imagine how much it meant to have these things returned to the family. Bless you all!