On April 29, 1966, I was 15 and a sophomore at Seymour Community High School. My morning brought band and geometry; my afternoon saw English and biology. And that night began with a black-and-white update from Walter Cronkite on the news from Vietnam. Not that I remember the day. I don’t. But Cronkite’s summaries and sign-off–And that’s the way it is.–were part of every evening in the Carl Thompson household.
For the kids of the Boston family of Canon City, Colorado, 4.29.66 was the date that their dad Sid, an Air Force pilot, went missing during a search-and-rescue mission in Son La Province. He was 30 years old. Now, 45 years later, siblings Bethany and John have been informed that their father’s remains have been identified. A single kneecap, kept as a souvenir by a Vietnamese farmer, has been positively matched with DNA from the pilot’s mom and brother. The Boston “kids” will fly to Hawaii this coming week to bring their dad’s remains home. A funeral service will be held July 15 at the Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs.
Reading this story in the Denver POST has set my mind spinning. About how a single day can be just a day in one household and change another family’s forever-after. About the U.S. military’s keeping its promise to leave no man behind. About how fast 45 years fly. About Walter Cronkite, and what news was then that it isn’t now. And how much I miss the sincerity, clarity and respect.
It’s also had me researching. Until today, I wasn’t aware that there’s a peak in Alaska named Mount POW-MIA. It’s in the south central region of the state and rises 4,235 feet above sea level. At the summit, the black-silhouette POW-MIA flag flies year-round. Replacing it is the honor duty of the ROTC cadets of Colony High School, some of whom are shown here in this Wiki image. A new generation, remembering the missing from three generations before.
And that’s the way it is.