Willie, I think about you and have thought about you every day since the mine went off that killed you. I think about your family and I hope they have peace.
Even though we were arguing on the day you died, I think your family should know that you were so loved by everyone in our unit, that men were crying when the word came back to us that you had died in the field hospital.
My purpose in writing this is not to stir up painful memories for your family, but to hope that these words will comfort them. I also hope that Bo, who was standing behind you when the mine went off, is doing okay. I think about him, too.
Willie and Bo, two brave and honorable men. I hope you are in peace.
Willie, every day for 44 years, as if you were an angel, I saw your face behind my left shoulder, watching over me in a helpful way. It seemed like you were always asking me: What are you going to do to make this right?
Willie, because of your presence in my life, I ask for God's help every day , to try to understand and to try to live a worthwhile life and to do the right thing.
Thank you, my friend. I hope you are satisfied with what I've tried to do.
Peace to you and your family.
The author of this post is Bill Distler from Bellingham, Washington. Bill is a Vietnam veteran and former squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from December 1967 to September 1968. He is a member of the Jonathan J. Santos Memorial Chapter of Veterans For Peace VFP-111.
Letters to The Wall is a project of VFP's Vietnam Full Disclosure campaign.