“to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
my family’s war hero: richard shuck.
the image above is a screen shot from the virtual wall – an online memorial for the soldiers of the vietnam war. each soldier whose name appears on the vietnam wall has page on the site with information about their service as well as photos and commentary. a few years ago, i was asked by my family to write something for my uncle ricky’s page. he served in vietnam at a very young age, and although i never met him i felt honored to put into words a brief memorial for this fantastic site.
below is an excerpt of what i wrote for ricky, the uncle i never knew, but already loved. a man who gave his life for his country and for the hope of saving the lives of others.
A life that is characterized by love is the hardest to lose, and Richard Shuck remains defined by his life, not his death, in the hearts of all who knew him.
For our family, Ricky is icon of love and loss, for we feel eternally cheated to have lost him, but incredibly privileged to have ever had him at all.
And for the generation of family that follows, that of myself and my sister and my cousins, it’s as if we were born with pain already in our hearts for a man who lived and died before our time. A legacy of love exists for our Uncle Ricky that is not contingent on our having ever met him. It will stay with us and continue to live on, traveling within the circle of love that is family, that cannot be severed, that does not end with death.
We all remain forever proud of the man whose name now lives on –
A silent expanse of jet black marble
with thousands of names
carved in gold.
for an army of children
doing what they were told.
– Terri E Wilson, The Wall –