Friday, August 17, 2012

Forever Young, Forever Remembered . . . .

The etching is stored away with my lifetime mementos.  The memories are stored in my brain forever.  

Glen Shropshire was my friend and classmate.  Glen wrote our SHS Class of 1965 prophecy for the senior edition of the Cedar Post.

He served as feature editor on our high school newspaper.  His writing talents were superb, so his clever thoughts about all of our futures were well received by classmates when the paper came out.

Nowhere in that prophecy was there any hint that Glen would not make it to our class reunions.  He died as a Marine during the Vietnam War.   

The memory of his ultimate sacrifice has come to every class reunion since then.  

He remains in all our minds that handsome, likable young man who had virtually every girl in our class swooning. 

I can still remember those beautiful brown eyes, that big mop of black hair and that wonderful smile.  Glen was genuine to the core.

And, so 20 years ago when I made a visit to Washington, D.C., I visited the Vietnam Wall, found his name and etched it on a piece of paper. 

I think many of our classmates have done the same over the years. 

I'm thinking of Glen this morning because I have not been able to get Harv Martin out of my mind.

His son Ethan died in Afghanistan several days ago.  

Ethan has been described as sweet and fun loving, a young man who hoped to come home from his military service and train to be a nurse---so he could help people. 

Ethan, like my classmate Glen, will remain forever young, forever remembered, forever loved.

A plane is bringing his remains from Dover, Delaware, this morning.  It will land at Sandpoint Airport.  

According to a press release I read yesterday on "Huckleberries Online," there will be a procession from Sandpoint Airport to Bonners Ferry where Ethan's funeral service and burial will be held tomorrow. 

The release states that the cortege traveling north on HWY 95 will include an escort by the Patriot Riders, a motorcycle group made up of military families who wish to honor fallen soldiers from the War on Terror. 

For the past several days, like so many in North Idaho, my heart has ached for Ethan's family, and, in my case, especially for his father Harv.

I knew "Harv" as "Harvey" when he was a student in my English class back in the early 1980s.  

Harvey was a jokester with a good heart.  I enjoyed him then, and I've thoroughly  enjoyed seeing him over the years.

Most recently, I visited with him briefly at his 1982 class reunion.  

A visit before that, however, is what sticks in my mind.

It was May.  We were both shopping at a local store.  We took time to do some catch-up on kids and life.  

Harvey was busting his buttons that day with the news that his daughter was graduating from the University of Idaho.  She would be a teacher

We also talked about his son Ethan.

A proud father he was, for sure.  I walked away from that conversation so proud and happy for Harvey. 

None of us on this day can come close to comprehending the sadness the Martin family is feeling as they bring their hero home to his final resting place. 

I do know one thing, though.  Harvey and the family are being sustained by the outpouring of love extended by so many throughout the North Idaho community and through Facebook posts.  

And, Harvey has shared with all of us his continued and lasting pride in his son.  

It's a sad day, for sure, as we put a local face to a far-off war.  

Whether or not we agree with our nation's policies or involvement in combats around the world, we salute and support those who serve.

And, when they make the ultimate sacrifice, we mourn them and keep their memories in our hearts forever. 

God bless the Martin family and thank you, Ethan Martin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never met Glen Shropshire but I, too, remember when he died because I worked at the funeral home at the time. I, too, looked his name up on the Vietnam Wall when I visited Washington, D.C. and I stood there for a moment to reflect on that time. Unfortunately, young men were not treated with the same respect as today's returning service people are. The Wall helps to bring some respect to those who died in service during that time. My condolences to the Martin family!