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Remembering Our War

For the Waco High School Class of 1960
Author: Pat Payne

Recently I completed a short video for my sons, David and Greg, with images of those who I served with in the Vietnam War. I shared it with Jeanne Harmon asking her to forward to just the military vets within our class. Jeanne replied, “war affects us all” and suggested these memories may be appropriate for our entire class. After some thought I agreed with Jeanne.

Most likely this war had an affect on each of us who graduated from Waco High School in 1960. Regardless of whether we served in the military or ever set foot in Vietnam or our gender, this ten year war impacted us personally or a member of our family or our friends. I care about my family having first hand images of the young men who served. I care about preserving their memories as long as possible because history is important. History defines the time in which we lived, our early years in Waco, our young adult lives, our families, our careers and now our sunset years.

This is why the great work by Jeanne Harman (Town Crier), Rayburn Taylor (Website) and Bob Easter (Finding Classmates) has set our class apart—we care about each other and preserving our memories. Recently the call went out to find the resources to carry on Rayburn’s good work with our website. A number of our classmates responded and I was happy to join them. The reason was to help keep our classmates memory alive via the website. Until the very last one of us closes our eyes for the last time we should be able to flip through the web pages and remember our younger years in Waco. Dr. Seuss said it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” As we look at the WHS pictures hopefully we all realize we came from a special town in the middle of Texas, have lived a good and meaningful life—and have so very much to smile about. Then we can go to sleep.

As previously noted, this video is for my two sons who appear in the last frame. About a third of the young men you will see were killed or wounded between September, 1965 – August, 1966. The song accompanying the pictures was written and sung by Jim Moore, a Vietnam veteran, who is the father of the performer Pink. She is singing harmony. The lyrics are worth paying attention to. They ring true for any soldier regardless which war they fought in. This video is meant to be relevant to both our WHS years and today as the world struggles with terrorism and rogue countries. Hoping this video is meaningful to you which can be viewed by clicking here.

8 comments on “Remembering Our War

  1. “Very good work. Thanks to Pat for sending this video. It makes me sad to think of all the ones that were killed in Viet Nam.” – Charlotte Suttle Kleibrink

  2. “Oh, my, dear Pat,
    This is a “teary” tribute to a time none of us will forget! Tears flood my eyes! Thanks, Pat for the reminder of our blessed nation and what it has cost so many! We treasure YOU as a special member of our class! Thanks for all you have done and continue to do monetarily and in all the ways you support our class of 1960! What a special thing to share with us and your sons! God bless America!
    Many hugs and love,”
    Malissa Starnes Baugh

  3. “I want Pat to know how much this meant to me. That is one of the most moving tributes I have seen on the Viet Nam War…as Pat said, we all have memories—mine involve the Air Force life and my husband’s 15 month tour. He was stationed in Taiwan, but flew almost daily over Viet Nam—D-130 aircraft. He dropped supplies, troops, even munitions—and it’s a time that he remembers vividly.

    I remember it also, as I spent it in Waco—I was pregnant with our second child, who was born while he was gone. It was great to be close to family, but we had a hard time while ‘dad’ was gone. There were no support groups, no email, no video conferences—nothing except expensive phone calls.

    Near the end of his time many C-130 aircraft were shot down, and I held my breath until he called telling me he was OK. It was a time I will always remember—it made me stronger and more self-reliant, because I had to be—but it was a time I would wish no one else has to endure.

    Thank you Pat—may I share this on Facebook? I would like others to remember what you and our class remembers of the war.”

    Clara Sue Griffis Arnsdorff
    Bellevue, NE

  4. “Pat thank you so much. It did affect the entire country. I was in during those years but was stationed on the east coast. I do appreciate what you and our brothers endured. Pat your thoughts are very inspirational and thank you.”
    Kindest regards,
    Ron Sommer

  5. “Jeanne –
    Thanks for sharing Pat’s video. Our “wars” were completely different. He was down on the ground and sometimes couldn’t see 50 feet in front of him. I, on the other hand, was in the sky (sometimes rooting around just above treetops) where the bad guys could shoot without your realizing it. Flying A-1s, the only times I got hit was when I didn’t see the other guy shooting (no sound in the air to get your attention, you know). We flew all of our sorties in areas (mainly Laos & North Vietnam) that the US government didn’t acknowledge; so, it rugged if you got shot down. On my second tour, in B-52s, the missions were over Hanoi & Hai Phong. The barrage of ground-to-air missiles was awesome on every sortie, particularly December 26th, when the Command decided to stand down for Christmas (gave the bad guys an extra day to re-arm). The only way to fly and see was at night – 15 hours round-trip out of Guam.”
    Russ Keeling

  6. For Pat:
    First of all, thank you for serving our country! YOU are a true hero! What a legacy to share with your family, friends and classmates! The Vietnam soldiers (my brother was one) have their own story…a story that should NEVER be forgotten! We all owe sooo much to you and those who served during this war. I watched it on TV and prayed hard for our military…really still do. We have the most unbelievable military in the world, and you are a part of this greatness! I am forever grateful for you and can loudly say…YOU are the real deal! I applaud you! God bless!
    Bev Murphy Wells
    PS: Loved the song too!

  7. “Thank you so much, Pat for the video of your Vietnam experience. It was meaningful to me and I’m sure to many others. I was married to a pilot who had two tours flying over the North and knew a few of the POWs. Glad you sent the video to all WHS 60 grads.”
    Anitra Harrell Henrion

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