A Memorial Day Reflection and Celebration

AVAILABLE ON PODCAST

Anchor.fm

Spotify

iTunes

 

 

It’s been an emotional week and Memorial Day reminds me that I am ever grateful for this country. Flawed, even divided, or reeling from the aftermath of a pandemic, it may be the worst from of government, as Winston Churchill said, but it’s better than all the rest. And, this I know.

Recently I discovered my mother’s letter to my father dated April 6, 1975 describing our safe arrival in California, after fleeing Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.  She wants him to know we are fine and she asks about him, in panic that he was still in Saigon.  

My mother’s letter dated April 6, 1975 to my father, on our safe arrival in LA.

I showed my Vietnamese mother photos today of her brother who had stayed behind during the evacuation. He is wearing his uniform, kneeling next to his wife and children. He was a young officer, a combat engineer, in charge of 120 men. He did not survive the communist reeducation camps. 

Uncle Phuc and family, my mother’s youngest brother who remained in South Vietnam after April 30, 1975

Last week, my oldest child graduated from West Point and she was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army by her Uncle Mike, my husband’s brother, a lieutenant colonel still on active duty. Mike talked about two things at her commissioning: the family’s generational service and Cara. This legacy includes every uncle, serving on both sides of the family, traced as far back as the Gettysburg Campaign, with Philip Fischer, who fought on Little Round Top.

Family and friends came to celebrate and I wanted to share a bit about my side. Procrastinator that I am, I sat in the Treehouse thinking of what to say. Many didn’t know the details of my evacuation or how we chose Cara’s name. I peeked out the window to see the cars pulling up, and tears flooded my eyes. I had a couple gifts for the new graduate and officer, so it felt right to share her story, inspired as I had been by Mike’s words, to complete this part of her tale. Cara’s family had fled the Irish famine, persecution of the Jews and was evacuated from Vietnam.

Everyone gathered in the dining room around the cake, which had an image of her class crest and motto, Until the Battle Is Won, and her Army Cyber branch logo.

[To listen to Audio/video of the speech, visit the Podcast links above] 

 

Cara is commissioned as a Second Lieutenant by Uncle Mike at West Point

A thank you to the family who traveled far and wide to be here, to teachers, sponsors, and friends. And to those who could not make it, much love and gratitude.  To those who are no longer with us, we send up a prayer of thanks. To all those who have served and are serving, thank you. 

To friends, classmates and all those who gave their lives in the name of liberty, our deepest gratitude.

And to honor his memory, to my mom’s youngest brother, Uncle Phuc.

Cara’s brother renders  her first salute and receives a silver dollar.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Please take a moment today to reflect on and remember those brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for freedom.  

 

Family Service

*The list is incomplete but includes recent generations of service

 

Philip Fischer, US Army (Little Round Top) [great, great, great, great …grandfather]

*Joseph Shattan, US Navy, WWII  [Cara’s Grandfather]

Boaz Shattan, US Army, WWII

Joel Shattan, US Army (retired)

Mark Shattan, US Army

Mike Shattan, US Army (LTC active duty)

Melanie Shattan, US Army

Nicholas Shattan, US Army (SSG, active duty)

Cara Linh Shattan, US Army (2LT, active duty)

M. Davis Shattan, US Army, Cadet, USCC

*Donald C. Brewster, US Foreign Service [Cara’s Grandfather]

Albert Brewster, US Army

Arthur Brewster, US Army

Joseph Brewster, US Navy

Donald C. Brewster, Jr. US Army

Mylinh Brewster Shattan, US Army

*Nguyen, Dinh Le, Civil Service, Mandarin, Hue Vietnam [Cara’s Great Grandfather]

Nguyen, Phuc, CPT, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), POW/MIA/KIA

Hoang, Liem, ARVN

Hoang, Loc, ARVN

Pham, Thinh, A-37 pilot, Republic of Vietnam AF 

Foreman, Rich, US Navy

Jun 1, 2021

0 Comments

About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

Stay Up to Date

Rise above the tedium with the TreeHouseLetter. Always learning with a bit of fun.

Latest Posts

Northeast by Northwest: How Travel Changes Me

5 min read On travel British Columbia in summer On Eats and Feats: where to eat and what to do * Eve Kendall: And, I don't particularly like the book I've started. Roger Thornhill: Ah. Eve Kendall: You know what I mean? Roger Thornhill: Ah, let me think. Yes, I know...

“Well-Intentioned Fools”

2 Min read Poetry for Emergencies On grief * * I came across this poem about the stupid things people say to each other after someone dies. * STEALING GRIEF By D. Adam BoazI think thatOne of the things we doWhen someone we know isHurtingIs say things,Because we want...

Memorial Day Speech: Because They Lived

9 Min read Memorial Day Speech Transcript and Video, New Canaan Town Hall Honoring seven New Canaan residents Remembering Hailey Hodsden Remembering the MH-60M Black Hawk #490 crew of the 160th SOAR(A) * Honored Resident Photos at this link * VIDEO OF SPEECH - follow...

“We Lived, Felt Dawn, Saw Sunset Glow”

3 Min read Memorial Day Vietnam War Toolbox: Speech writing and public speaking Creative nonfiction / True story Poetry for Emergencies * Last fall I received a request to be the speaker for Memorial Day. I was surprised and then I let it sink in. Me? The Local VFW...

That Teacher, You Know the One

5 Min read Poetry for Emergencies: E.E. Cummings On music: J.S. Bach Commencement speech * * Let's take a moment for teachers. That teacher, you know the one. Because, I have a confession to make. In the lottery of life and learning, if you're lucky then you have one,...

Meditation on Mother’s Day

4 Min read On mandalas On Kansas City On life in the middle * * It's wet and dreary here. And, in spite of the multitude of Mays that I've lived through, I continue to forget how busy this month is with graduations, weddings, parties. And, funerals. What I want to...

Semper Fidelis

4 Min read On patterns On Vietnam and Memorial Day Operation Frequent Wind 1 Book rec * * We had not met before though we had met in other ways, I suppose. We laughed in short order, having teared up moments before. But, first let me say this. The third time is a...

Topics

Inoculate yourself against the absurdity of life with a dose of the best ideas and writing. Always learning with a bit of fun.