The Letter, the Vietnam War Memorial and Karma

The Letter, the Vietnam War Memorial and Karma

A Story by Dave

our schools' 

     Prior to 9/11 our schools' entire 8th grade would go on a 
three day, two night trip to Washington, D.C.  So many fantastic
things have happened on these trips, but I'll just relate one of 
them for now.
     We were there the week that the Vietnam War Memorial was
open to the public.   Personally I was stunned at the emotions I 
felt at this wall.   
    I had with me a group of about ten boys and my teammate had
a group of about twelve girls.  In addition we had probably three
or four chaperones.
    We  discovered that very often people leave pictures, cards or letters between the slabs on stone.  One of our girls pulled out a three page letter that had been place there and asked me to read it to the group.
     It turned out to be a letter written by a teenager whose father had been killed.  She was telling him all the things they would have done together and how much she missed and loved him.  I admit it, with two daughters of my own and being, at heart, a softy, I was bawling before I finished two-thirds of the first page.
    I stopped, unable to go on.  Looking around I saw everyone was crying, even the boys, even the civilians that weren't part of our group.  
    I tried to hand it on to my teammate, but she was sobbing.  We quietly folded it back up and placed it back where it had been taken from.

     This next part might seem totally unrelated, but it belongs here.  Let me preface it by pointing out that when we put students together in groups sometimes there are pupils that are not necessarily part of the "click."  I'll now continue.
     Immediately after the incident with the letter it happened to be lunch time.  We were trying to decide where to go at this busy time of the day.  All the museums have decent cafeterias, but where to go?
     Unexpected'y this young lady, Marsha chimed in.  "Planet Hollywood is right across the mall and my uncle is one of the owners."  At this time Planet Hollywood was a rather new thing.
     This girl was very nice and sweet, but she definitely was not part of the "click".  She was relatively new to the school and so had few friends.  
     It was possible to actually see the kids especially the girls roll their eyes.   My partner told us, "Look we're going to stand in line, no matter where we go.  Let's give it a try."
     When we got to the other side of the Mall the line went all the way down the street.  It was moving, but very slowly.  After about ten minutes Janis, my fellow teacher suggested that she take Marsha up to the hostess figuring what harm could it do.
     Slowly, ever so slowly we were getting further along, but then a hulk of a guy came rushing down to me.  
     "Are you with that other teacher and Marsha?" 
     "Yes! yes we are."  I pointed out the rest of our group and the chaperones.
     "Come with me, he said.
      Not just to the front of the line, but to the table they were just finishing setting up for us.  Her uncle, in addition was there to welcome and greet us.
     It was a beautiful sight to see!  One would have thought that Marsha was a long lost friend or cousin.  The children couldn't have treated her nicer.

© 2019 Dave

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Some years ago now, whilst holidaying in France, my parent's took my sister and I to visit Etatples Military Cemetery, as relative on my father's side is buried there. It is vast, with almost 12,000 graves. It was a very sobering sight and I can only imagine the sorrow you and your group felt as that letter was read out.

The second part of your story, about Marsha, also saddened me, though I was glad of her final acceptance. But it gave me pause to wonder why it so often is, that the focus is on status and superficial popularity, rather than the person themselves. Such a shame, and for those outside looking in, especially a child, it can be an awful time.


Posted 1 Month Ago

I can sure see why this is a memorable experience. I'm not one to cry, but reading that letter while standing before the wall would probably have been too much to bear. I've only been to the small version of the wall that they move around the country, and even it is awesome and emotional in its presence. As for Planet Hollywood, well, it goes to show what can happen when you know people. Hopefully, it won Marsha some acceptance.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 Month Ago

As I said with regard to the letter my own two daughters at the time was the same age as the girl wh.. read more

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2 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on December 9, 2019
Last Updated on December 9, 2019



Bridgewater, NJ

David B. Pincus I am a retired teacher. I have taught in grades 5th-8th in New Jersey. I am married and have two grown daughters and four grandsons. I enjoy playing tennis and traveling. With m.. more..

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