Soldiers in Vietnam fought more than jungles and rivers and the enemy.
Brave men - frightened, maybe, but definitely brave - served as best they could, trying to ignore the war on the home front, where many Americans demonstrated against the country's involvement. When soldiers came home from Vietnam, they weren't treated as the heroes they were.
That should long be counted as one of America's greatest shames.
To honor men and women lost in combat, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., draws millions of visitors annually, many looking for the name of someone they once knew.
It's a listing of soldiers who died in Vietnam, and it's an impressive memorial.
Now there's a drive going to collect photos of each of those people. It's called the Call for Photos initiative.
My friend, Jim McGough, son of Ronnie and the late Paul McGough, sent me the information a few days ago. He was one of those brave soldiers who fought in the jungles of Vietnam and came home with nightmares and cold sweats. And injuries. This initiative means a lot to him, as it should to all Americans.
To date, organizers have rounded up photos of 356 of the 853 Iowans listed on the wall, and they're asking for help to find the rest.
They want to put faces with the names. A wonderful idea.
Two submission methods are offered. Photos may be submitted online to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund - there's a spot specially for Call for Photos. Or actual photos may be sent to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Attn: Call for Photos, 2600 Virginia Ave. N.W., Suite 104, Washington, D.C. 20037.
Photos should be 8-by-10, if possible, with a glossy finish. Check the website for a photo submission form.
If you're like me and want to talk to a person, you may call (202) 393-0090, or if an email does it for you, email@example.com.
Pictures are available for fewer than half the fallen Iowa soldiers. Photos are still needed for many in our area. Read the list slowly. Let it sink in. Realize what these men sacrificed:
Nicholas Alexander, Wesley; Thomas Carrington, Storm Lake; Henry Claussen, Palmer; Robert Farnham, Algona; Randy Fisher, Webster City; Richard Flattery Jr., Fort Dodge; David Fleskes, Fort Dodge; Randall Freeman, Sac City; Timothy Green, Fort Dodge; Galen Grethen, Emmetsburg; William Higgins, Algona; Fredrick Holst, Knierim; Dennis Johnson, Eagle Grove; Eric Johnson, Laurens.
William Kern, Algona; William Pease, Fort Dodge; Thomas Poundstone, Clarion; Steven Sears, Highview; Daryl Shonka, Fort Dodge; Jack Smith, Clarion; Loren Studer, Clarion; Kenneth Thomason, Algona; Melvin Thompson, Fonda; Patrick Trotter, Fort Dodge; Gary Wier, Emmetsburg; Grayson West, Webster City; Waldo Williams, Rockwell City; Keith Wilson, Marathon; and Dennis Yetmar, Clare.
If you can find a photo of any of these men, take the time to help. All it takes is a little time, a bit of effort. What it gives cannot be measured without shortness of breath and a few tears. It will give honor to men who gave their all fighting for their country.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org