I’ve been asked to speak at the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial for its annual Memorial Day ceremony to tell the story of Corporal Lyle Tate. He was killed in action 50 years ago this month in the Republic of Vietnam.
I wrote about him for the Catalyst five years ago, having uncovered this story while doing research for my next book, which will be about his battalion during the Tet Offensive. The 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines saw a lot of combat. So there are many such stories to tell, but for me, next Monday will be Lyle Tate’s day.
It’s a great honor to be picked as the keynote speaker. I’ve been attending these events for years. Indeed I was at the very first one in 1987. Back then the Oregon Air National Guard would do a low-pass flyby in their F-4 Phantoms, giving many Vietnam Vets one more chance to hear that signature roar, the welcome sound of close air support to an American and no doubt a sound that induced fear in the Viet Cong, portending the imminent delivery of napalm canisters.
The ceremony starts at 10am. Perhaps I’ll see you there.
Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of A Brief History of Political Cultural Change.