Monday, July 23, 2012

in commemoration

On this day in 1967, Corporal Donald Woodward McNamara lost his life in a six-hour firefight with the enemy near Highway 9 at Ca Lu, Viet Nam, four months after the birth of his son Shane, the child he never met nor held in his arms.  McNamara was the only casualty in Viet Nam who listed Northwood, IA, as his hometown.

Yes, "Don", it is ME!

"Little, Lyle"

My best friend, Larry S. Nelson, USMC introduced us just before you TWO headed to Okinawa.

Remember, Blue and Red? First Marines, Third Marines?

Life WAS simple!

Blue and Red!

The more you DRANK, the more your threw your head back and and said "GAWD".

You said "GAWD" many times before the night was over.

You had such "inner peace"! Was there something you wanted to tell us besides "GAWD"?

More than once the "fellas" who served with you TRIED, really TRIED to recover the ground they were PUSHED back from. Ground that YOU held. Overrun, pushed back! Overrun pushed back! Overrun - pull the pin!

That (now hallowed ground) could NOT be recovered. Those Marines knew they were NOT "supermen".

In the end, you destroyed the M-60. "One last grenade"! You hugged the "60" until the end!

Thanks, Don!

--  Lyle C. Frazer, posted at  

The story of Donald McNamara and the discovery of his son Shane has been an emotional one for all involved, a testament to the sense of hometown one feels being raised in Northwood Iowa, and a statement about the importance of remembering those who served our country in uniform.  I personally never served, and this project has become a way for me to contribute, and an honor to do so.

In the words of a Marine who served with McNamara, Lance Corporal Ray Calhoun, San Diego, CA: This all reminds me a quote from a WWI Belgium man who as a kid was liberated by the US Army. He came to America, became a famous architect and married into wealth. To thank the USA for all this he established a military museum and library in Santa Barbara, Ca. Asked about his special feelings for the military he said: “I still feel an obligation to the United States, especially to the military. That’s why I am behind the idea of a Museum to honor the soldiers who died. To be killed in a war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is not the worst. To be forgotten is the worst.” 

Searching for his gravesite at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN, Larry Patterson finally found the headstone, overgrown by sod.  Since restored to a presentable condition, it remains a sad statement that for years it had been slowly forgotten.  Today we remember, 45 years later.

Editor's note: the above post was scheduled to be published on Saturday, July 21, the anniversary date, and is published today due to an error.  My regrets.

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