- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Wife keeps promise to memorialize Vietnam veteran at wall
Ray Thompson came home from Vietnam in 1969 badly wounded, having lost four ribs, a kidney and his spleen, among other injuries the young Army radio operator sustained while serving his country in Southeast Asia.
But he didn’t give up on the radio, and that passion eventually led him to the love of his life and wife, Patty.
“We met on the CB radio and talked on it for seven months before we ever met in person,” she said Sunday morning, minutes before a touching ceremony to honor the addition of her late husband’s name to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington.
Ray Thompson took care of fellow servicemen and women at the veterans medical center in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Mrs. Thompson desperately wanted to see her late husband’s name on the wall.
The sacrifices of more than 58,000 men and women are honored there. Names are added each year, and the only stipulation is that the veteran died as a result of wounds suffered during the Vietnam conflict.
The process, however, is painstaking. Ray Thompson passed away in 2010, but it has taken this long for the Defense Department to approve his addition.
It wouldn’t have been in Ray’s nature, Mrs. Thompson said, to grapple with the federal government just to see his name etched into the black granite of the memorial wall.
But it’s most certainly in hers.
“Ray wasn’t a scrapper, but I am. I’ll take on the Chinese army,” Mrs. Thompson said as veterans and friends and families of the honorees gathered behind her on the Mall. “It was one of the last promises I made to him. It’s like a huge task has come to completion for me. He said, ‘You’ll never get my name on that wall.’ But I kept my promise to him.”
Spc. Raymond Clark Thompson was one of the four names added to the wall last week.
The others, ABE3 Clark David Franklin of New Mexico, Pfc. Lester James Veazey of Oklahoma, and Sgt. Dennis R. Siverling of Wisconsin, also were honored during the service, an event that, by design, coincided with Mother’s Day.
“Our mothers’ prayers brought us home,” Harry G. Robinson, a Vietnam veteran and renowned architect at Howard University, said at the ceremony.
Rep. Steven A. Horsford, Nevada Democrat and the keynote speaker, told the mothers and fathers of Vietnam veterans — and veterans of all other conflicts, before and since — that their children represent “the pinnacle of American heroism.”
“Your child embodies the values that make this country great,” he told members of the crowd, many of whom choked back tears.
Mrs. Thompson wants her husband’s children to remember that it was their father, an Indiana native who grew up with little money, who also embodied those values.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Obama unveils new $600 billion jobs initiative
- Biden to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Separation of church and Obama: Religious ties may run deep, but president's attendance has not
- Obamas paid $98K in taxes in 2013, White House says
- Obama calls principal of Pa. high school devastated by stabbings
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.