Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thirty-five years on

...I have by good fortune come to learn of the existence of a mural "Touched by Fire", by Vietnam veteran Derek Walsh. The mural is 12-metres long and depicts the Australian experience in Vietnam. The picture above is just a small section. The art "shows the faces of those 504 young Australians who paid that terrible price in defence of their country".

On June 12, 1971,my only brother was killed in Vietnam in the last weeks of his second tour of duty. He was only 26 years old. Though 35 years have passed, I miss what might have been had I had my brother around to be part of my life. My adult sons grieve the loss of their uncle in their lives too, even though they were born several years after his death. It is sad John never knew them nor had the chance to interact in their lives and enjoy recognising some shared family traits!

John lived life fully and left a plethora of memories of wonderful practical jokes, often embarrassing for Mum and Dad but amazingly hilarious to his little sister (me). He would be delighted if he knew the re-telling of his antics has given much joy to my sons as they grew up. As they don't have a sister, I thought it safe to include tales of his original ideas for teasing and tormenting me, which they took special delight in hearing! And so my brother's memory lives on perhaps even more admirably after death.

But I can't help wondering what it would have been like if he was still here...

No comments: