Sunday, June 12, 2011

Not Forgotten.... I honor this man!!

Rusty Smith
I've changed my profile pic to that of my father, Richard D. Smith, in honor of Father's Day this month. My Father's plane was shot down in Vietnam, in 1965. His name is the first listed on the Vietnam War Memorial, in Wichita KS (he was the first casualty from Kansas). He was listed as "missing in action" until 1994, when his remains were returned to the USA and he was laid to rest at Resthaven Cemetery.
The above message was posted on my friend Rusty's FB page.
Your saying to your self why is she writing this post? I am not writing this to toot my own horn but to honor a man I never knew. For years the name RICHARD D. SMITH was a name on a Red MIA Bracelet that I wore. I was very proud and honored to have received this name, it was the name of a stranger. I wore the name of Richard D. Smith everyday, to work and out to play.. I never took it off until the day that Richard D. Smith was laid to rest at Resthaven Cemetary in the year of 1994. It was a strange turn of events that made me realize that the band I was wearing was a Father to a man that I work with. 
A few of us still honored those that served their country in the Viet Nam war, by wearing MIA bracelets. One day at work a co-worker said to me... Hey your wearing Rusty's dad's name. I was sort of shocked I worked with Rusty for years and wore that band everyday to work and didn't realize that I was honoring his father. I knew Rusty's father was missing in action from others, that I worked with. Shortly thereafter I saw Rusty ..and I had a chance to ask him if the name that was drawn for me was his father. He confirmed that the name on the band was his dad. This knowledge made this small little RED band mean more in a special way to me. No matter how worn or how bent scratched or damaged that it got, this little band would be with me and on my person for the rest of my life or until Richard came home. 
Richard did come home......... I was at last able to return that arm band to Rusty and his family after wearing it so long to honor his father. I have to tell you the kindness and big heart that my friend Rusty has.. he asked me do you want to keep my dads band because you wore it so many years... I was so deeply moved that Rusty had wanted me to have this little symbol of honor. I told him no.... the tradition was to return it to the family upon the soldiers return.. This my readers is where this little Red Band is with Rusty and his family... I hope one day it is handed down to Rusty's son, so history and the love of one serviceman can live on and on. 
May you now rest in PEACE Richard D. Smith. 
A hero to me in such a long and sad war!


Barb said...

Too bad he could not have some home alive....but at least he is home. What a sweet things to do and never once did I think you were tooting your own horn.

Sherry said...

Wow what a beautiful story. I remember having one when I was younger but I never knew if they ever got home. On till I heard this story I had forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me and for the lovely story. I am so glad you did it. And no you are not tooting your own horn.

West Michigan Quilter said...

Beautiful story. Beautiful way to honor your dad.

operagirl17 said...

Rusty is my cousin! I haven't been able to find him on FB. I just had lunch with members of the JPAC who are here in my office doing research to help bring more of our MIA's home. Please pass along my email to him!