Hi Jack, thanks so much for your reply.

I believe my Dad was in the 22nd somewhere from 1965 through 1969. He did two tours in Vietnam, and retired from Ft. Hamilton in New Jersey (maybe NY, but I'm not sure).

My parents divorced in 1965 when I was all of 11 years old. My Dad sent us all (my mother and 8 kids) to Rochester, NY since my mother's family was from here. I only saw my Dad a couple of times after that before he died. My stepmother gave me a small box of his possessions with a lighter in it. I've let it sit all these years, not thinking much about the past and what may have happened to my father.

Lately, several things have happened that have led me to walk this road into the past. I started to become rather ashamed of my ignorance of Vietnam, especially since my father had been there and because I'm classified as a Vietnam era vet. I remember the draft (I was born in 1954), but it didn't affect my age group. We were just a bit younger than the guys being drafted. I wore a POW bracelet in those days, as did so many kids. And I think I was humbled by the experience of trying to work with homeless Vietnam vets when I couldn't really comprehend what these men had been through. I came to the conclusion that in order to be effective working with Vietnam vets, my self-imposed ignorance was something that I had to end by becoming educated about what had happened. I think this is a "floodgate" experience since I've not done this work earlier in my life when I probably should have.

Although I was raised in the military, and in spite of the fact that I also served (1974-77), I had little to no idea what combat actually "looks like." I've avoided any and all combat movies, and my husband and I keep our son from seeing them also (he's still too small, anyway--only 8).

So the other day I went searching for the lighter and trying to discover the meaning of the inscription...

Hope you don't mind wading through this note, Jack... it's part of the cathartic experience, at least I'm hoping and praying it is!

REFLECTIONS: I've been praying for her. It's not just those who served.

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