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Old Glory

By Aldo Panzieri
Another veteran is gone. Another witness to the insanity of war is dead. Jim Lively was my sergeant before I shipped out to Vietnam. We both traveled to Vietnam on the same plane but we never saw each other. We landed at Saigon airport, which was part of the biggest military base in Vietnam. Jim and I were both there to work in the intelligence photo labs turning out thousands of prints to be sent up and down through the chain of command. The list started with the President, and worked down to squadron commanders who's pilots shot the pictures in the first. The casualty rate for photo recon pilots was fifty per cent. Some of the pilots were on their forth deployment and had used up just about all their luck.

Jim ended up in an intelligence photo lab in the middle of Saigon, a place where you're a fool if you spent more time than necessary on Saigon streets. Jim's lab was hit by a mortar, or some other type of explosive device. Jim was never injured. I never saw him during our tours of duty. I went home a day or two ahead or behind him.

Jim went home to Ohio and his wife and four daughters. A few years later lost wife Donna at forty one from a very aggressive form of cancer. Dona was a mother who loved her girls with every ounce of love she had. Her hobby was stock car racing around dirt tracts. More than once raced while very, very pregnant.

The wife of a buddy of mine from my stateside base, Supplee had four girls of her own, but traveled the forty miles from Louisville Kentucky to Ohio to be a mom to Jims girls as well as her own.

Bob and Sue split up, and Sue as well as Jim were alone for thirty years. With all eight daughters married and mothers themselves, Jim and Sue got married. It was good to be married to a good friend, but Jims daughters didn't like it, and spoke as little as possible.

Jim was eighty nine, a few days ago he got very sick. Sue knew what was happening. She emailed me to let me know. Today, she told me had died, and she was about to leave for Ohio for the funeral.

One less veteran who knew what war was really like, who would be trouble for politicians, who rattled sabers while there sons stayed civilians.

Tags: Photo journalism Old Old glory

Voters: DeSilver,


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Comments


Shaji84 7 4 India
8 Sep 2014 3:53AM
Hello. The image does not seem to be loading - you might want to check it.
Cheers,
Shaji
Chinga Plus
11 61 3 United Kingdom
8 Sep 2014 12:02PM
Sorry Aldo, you may have to try to load again... We are getting a blank page!
Regards,
IB

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