Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Memorial Day Tribute

If you haven't entered my Mikasa giveaway, you still have time!  Go here to enter!  I will be randomly choosing a winner on May 31st!!

There have been many movies based on the Vietnam War.  A lot of us were touched by this and other wars in a personal way, and so it is with the movie We Were Soldiers.  This movie was based on the first major engagement of the Vietnam War, documented in the book We Were Soldiers Once...and Young by Lieutenant Gen. (Ret.) Hal Moore and reporter Joe Galloway.  It depicts the Battle of la Drang, in which 450 U.S. soldiers from the U.S. 7th Air Cavalry were dropped in the la Drang Valley to attack enemy North Vietnamese and are surrounded by 2000 enemy soldiers in what would become the worst battle of the Vietnam War.  Mel Gibson stars as Lt. Hal Moore and Chris Klein stars as John Lance "Jack" Geoghegan, a young infantry lieutenant who was killed during the battle while tending to a wounded fellow soldier, Willie Godboldt.  Jack Geoghegan, age 24 at the time of his death, was the only son of John & Camille D. Geoghegan.  He married Barbara Weathers on June 13, 1964 and his daughter, Camille Ann (Cammie), was born the following June, 1965.   Tragically, Cammie was only five months old at the time of her father's death.  Cammie is my next door neighbor and a dear friend.

Barbara, Jack, and Cammie Geoghegan, 1965
Lt. Geoghegan and Lt. Moore, portrayed by Chris Klein and Mel Gibson, talk and pray together before their deployment to Vietnam.  Geoghegan (Klein) wears a baby bracelet with the name of his daughter, Camille, on it.
Cammie and her Dad.

We Were Soldiers is a tribute to the loving fathers, brothers, and sons who sacrificed their lives that day and reflects their loyalty, valor, and love for one another while under fire.  I was invited by Cammie to view the premier of the movie in our hometown.  It was a very emotional experience for me, and it's hard to explain the feelings of loss I felt for my friend.  Fortunately, her mother, Barbara, went on to remarry John Johns, a devoted stepfather who honored Jack's memory.  Johns was also a military man, and became a Brigadier General in 1975.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know Cammie's mother, stepfather, and her sister and brother.  They are an amazing, loving family.
Barbara, with Cammie's two girls--Stephanie and Julie.

Cammie's mother is portrayed by Keri Russell.
Cammie, with her husband, Ray Olson, their two girls--Julie and Stephanie, and their dog, Reesie.

A beautiful oil painting of Cammie's paternal grandmother hangs in her dining room.  I can see the family resemblance.

Also in Cammie's dining room, a curio cabinet holds precious photos and memorabilia.  Her dad's picture is on the center right.
Her lovely dining room has a mirrored wall that makes the room so classy, and I love her gorgeous chandelier.

Another view...
So I just would like to say Thank You to all those who have served, are serving, and the families that have given their loved ones to protect our country and freedoms.
Feel free to sing along!  'And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died

who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up, next to you,

and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land!
God bless the

My own father served in World War II, as Chief Petty Officer in the navy.  Although he didn't speak much about his experience, I know that he was loyal to his country, and would have made the navy his career, if my mother would have agreed.  She did not want to leave her family, so he left the navy and they were married.

To read more about Cammie's dad, click here and read her mother's personal story.

A few years back, Cammie journeyed to Vietnam with other sons and daughters who had lost loved ones.  Read about their journey here.

Don't forget, you still have time to enter the giveaway to win a set of beautiful Mikasa dishes!!

If you haven't seen the movie We Were Soldiers, take some time to watch it.  You'll be glad you did.  Make sure you have tissues nearby!  :)  Thanks for visiting, I always appreciate your kind comments!!


  1. This is a beautiful and moving post. So many of our young people, only a few years older than me, were lost in Vietnam. My own father was in the army between WW II and the Korean War, and served in Panama guarding the canal! That is a location we don't often hear about, but in the 1950s there were many army personnel stationed there. Thank you for this story! Linda

  2. What a lovely and touching tribute to your friend , her dad, mother and our wonderful country. Gen. Hal Moore lives in my town and I pass his home every morning and afternoon on my way to and from work. His wife was an amazing woman and their story is equally great.
    My own father served in the Navy during the Korean conflict.
    God Bless all our military and their service to our country to keep us safe.

  3. Now, I must see that movie. You have brought it to life so wonderfully by sharing your friend Cammie.

    Memorial Day has always been special to me. When I hear stories of real American heroes and the families they left behind, I'm overwhelmed.

    God bless Cammie and her family.

    And that table is just plain wonderful. I love all the patriotism. This is a truly terrific post.

  4. Wonderful post! My father served in Vietnam when I was 5 years old. I remember praying for his safety every night. Fortunately he came home to us. Thank you for sharing the story of Cammie and her dad.

  5. Thank you for sharing--I must see the movie now.

    Verlan @

  6. What a beautiful tribute! Thank you for sharing...I love the pails on the table...
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend,

  7. I grew up in the midst of the vietnam "conflict" as it was called then. What a loving tribute you shared with us today. Makes us every so thankful for our freedoms and those who fought so that we may speak freely, pray as we wish and walk around as we want. Be blessed. xo~marlis

  8. What a lovely post, and you are honoring those who should be honored -- our hero soldiers. My heart goes out to Cammie... but it seems like her Mom did A WONDERFUL JOB and Cammie has a beautiful life now. It is so touching to see the memory shrine she has of her Dad. But you know, her father HAS BEEN watching over her (and Cammie's Mom) all of these years. :) They never leave us. Again, wonderful post, you should be commended for this wonderful memory you have show-cased.

  9. What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I saw that movie with my son about two years ago. I wish I could show it in high school as a lesson on respect for and upholding the country we love so much. Thank you for personalizing the story even further by telling about Cammie. My son is in the CA National Guard.

  11. Thank you for sharing a beautiful tribute to your friend, Cammie and her father.

  12. What a beautiful story, the music words gave me a lump in my throat and I thoroughly enjoyed your post and table-scape. I am new to your blog, very nice! Joy

  13. You have portrayed the bravery and valor of our servicemen and women in this beautiful and touching post. The cost of serving is so great and these brave men and women must be recognized for their gift to all of us.

    I have never seen We Were Soldiers, but I will now. It's story is echoed in the storyline of countless soldiers who's tale will never be know.

    A very profound post! Thank you!
    Happy Memorial Day!

  14. What a wonderful tribute! Bless you for sharing it - and Happy Memorial Day. I'll share a Memorial Day post tonight...

  15. What a wonderful story, thank you so much for sharing it with us. I will get the movie, I haven't seen it, love to, now that I know the people. A truly lovely and sentimental tribute you've done with this nice post and patriotic tablescape. Yes, may God bless the men that are fighting for freedom and to the USA, hope my country is always safe and a haven for freedom for all the people in the world! I'm also at SS.
    Lots of hugs

  16. Beautiful post and moving tribute to all who have given their lives for our country. My brother and many friends served during the Vietnam conflict. Thank you for sharing this. ~ Sarah

  17. Beautiful and moving post. I remember those days too well. Lovely tablescape! Happy Memorial Day!

  18. What an interesting moving story. I think I have seen this, but I would definitely like to see it again. Many of my contemporaries gave their lives in Vietnam, and it is very hard to get past the anger and futility of that whole situation.

  19. What a touching story. Medal of Honor winner Joe Marme who is also depicted in the movie lives in my town. (In the movie he doesn't survive, but he did in real life)

    It is truly fitting that we honor the heroes who have given us our freedom!

  20. What an amazing story and touching tribute.

    Love your table too!

    Looking forward to having you join "Where do you keep it all? - Part 2"

    - The Tablescaper

  21. I saw the movie many times before I stumbled across this site, in fact I have just finished watching it again today. I have also read the book 'We Were Soldiers Once And Young'. I am english and live in the UK and I have also served in the Army (British Army) and have medals for active service in Desert Storm.
    The story of the Battle of Ia Drang has touched hearts all over the world, mine especially. It is such an amazing story of bravery, sheer guts and detrmination and shows that the American military are truly a Band of Brothers. I'm not one for weeping but the movie gets me going every time I watch it, especially the plight of Lieutenant John Lance "Jack" Geoghegan, I'm sure he was an amazing leader and more importantly soldier.
    The men of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry who fought on this patch of land should be remembered for all eternity for the sacrifices they made in the Ai Drang Valley in 1965, I raise a glass of Scotch to them every November and will continue to, till the day I die.

    Please pass my best wishes on to the Geoghegan family and the surviving veterans and their families.

    Stuart Reeve



    1. Stuart, thank you so much for your kind note. I have passed this along to the Geoghegan family, and they were very moved by your comments. It is amazing how this story continues to affect people, both near and far. God bless you and yours.--Betsy

  22. This past Memorial Day my wife and I took a one hour ride to the gravesite of John "Jack" Geoghegan in Bethel,CT to pay our respects for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country. Realizing that we were just learning how to read when the battle at Ia Drang took place. We freshened up the site figuring this was the least we could do for this brave soldier.

  23. Just saw your comment, and I wanted to respond and thank you. I will pass this on to the family of Jack Geoghegan. I am amazed every day by the kindness and love of fellow Americans!!

  24. Hi,
    My Name is Sven Rücker. I am german but live in sweden now. Actually i ended up on this page because it always interested me what happened to the daughter of lieutenant Geoghegan. In the believe that it is hard to loose your father when you are only a few months old, i was hoping that she had a good life.
    Thankyou for posting these photos. I am glad to see that she in fact has a good life with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters (and a caring neighbor :) ). It is a beautiful family.
    I do not know if it is important but i would like to let Mrs. Geoghegan know that there are people all over the globe that have only deepest respect for her father and the men of 1st battalion, 7th cavalry. Their deeds and sacrifices are not only remembered in the United States.
    This is also thanks to the movie which i saw when it came out and which i own today. I watch it at least once every year.
    The deeds and the sacrifice which lieutenant Geoghegan made on that day in Vietnam in the year of 1965 will never be forgotten. He died a true officer and a true american, thinking about others until his end. He has my deepest respect.
    I like to think that the fact his daughter has such a good life today has something to do with him watching and protecting her all those years. I am not a religious man, but I certainly hope that he is watching.
    My deepest respect to the whole family.
    Yours sincerely,
    Sven Rücker

    1. Thank you, Sven, for your kind comments. I will pass along your message to them, and I am sure it will be appreciated! Thank you!