Several years ago I discovered an interesting newspaper clipping in the archive I inherited from my grandmother. It led me on a research quest which I wrote about in a post called Honoring a Family Hero. It was about discovering that I had a cousin who had been a POW during the Vietnam War.
Sometime later I was contacted by Ingalls Shipyard outside Mobile, Alabama. They were about to christen the USS William P Lawrence, a guided missile destroyer, named for this cousin and would I like to attend the event. Would I! They had discovered my post doing a search and offered the invitation because I was a relative of the admiral. Unfortunately we already had commitments and couldn’t attend, but I sure would have loved to meet his family and learn more about him and that side of our heritage.
On my flight back from RootsTech, I was sitting next to a man from Tennessee and since my grandmother’s side of the family is from there, our conversation quickly turned to family. He happened to mention that he knew Charlie Plumb – a Naval aviator who was also a POW. I mentioned my story about my cousin and we agreed that they probably were imprisoned together.
The next day I received an email from my traveling companion asking if I would send him the link to my article. I did.
The day after that I received an email from Charlie Plumb telling me he and my cousin were POWs together. He had written an autobiography that included information on Bill Lawrence. Would I like a copy? Would I!
An autographed copy of the book arrived a couple of days later.
Forty years ago I stood on the tarmac at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas watching the return of a number of Vietnam POWs who would be undergoing medical reviews at our base hospital. I didn’t recognize any of those men’s names, but that didn’t make their return any less emotional – and not just for me. Charlie Plumb’s book is difficult to read because it brings back lots of memories and emotions from that period and the friends and family who served then. It’s also hard to put down so I’m moving through it slowly but with great interest.
If this was the only time I’d made a connection through blogging, it would be well worth it. In actuality, this is one of many and my joy of blogging continues . . .