Hatfield, MA, Hampshire
I was trying to get the Saturday morning cartoons to come in clearer on the black and white TV by adjusting the tin foil on the rabbit ears. My mom was working on this sunny Saturday and my Dad was sleeping because he worked the night shift. Through the living room window, I saw the car pull up and park. Two men in uniforms got out.
I was eleven, it was March, 1968.
When I woke my Dad and told him that two Marines were at the door, he groaned and said "Oh my God". He knew already that my brother was dead.
It was a cold, rainy day in Arlington when they buried my brother. There were taps and a twenty one gun salute and a flag given to my Dad.
I was the first kid in school to lose a brother or sister to Vietnam.
My parents soon divorced, there was too much blame. Why did they let him join? Why did they let him extend his tour? Like it was my Dad's fault. Funny, I really think that some of us blamed him for it. I'm sure that he blamed himself.
Today, I find myself standing at the Vietnam Memorial in Springfield and feel a mixture of pride and sadness when I look at my brother's name. Pride, because my brother, at twenty one achieved greatness within himself and sadness because I still miss him.
Funny, this pain never dies and Chuck Parsons will never be forgotten.