‘A VETERAN NOT FORGOTTEN’
To the Editor:
In 2002, I self-published a paperback entitled “Voices From a Wounded Soul,” in which I referenced my cousin Charles, a Vietnam veteran who spent six years in the service of our country.
Charlie was my hero as a child growing up; he was a good kid who lived in the projects of Newark. Charlie, who I believe suffered PTSD after his service, disappeared in 1970. It was only some years ago, due to the Internet, that I found that he had passed away in June 2011. On a memorial website, I left a tribute to him and his legacy. A vet who served our country and who probably disappeared into the alleyways of a forgotten era.
Then, thanks to social media, I was contacted by a woman named Jackie Townsend O’Rourke, who had stumbled upon my tribute to Charlie and searched for and found me. Jackie, a great woman, informed me that she had made a promise to her dad, also a veteran, to take care of Charlie. Charlie was suffering greatly mentally, and Jackie and her family spent 21 stressful years taking care of him, out of love and a promise she made to her father.
In 2011, Charlie passed in her home, with really nothing to call his own, outside of military medals and a few watches. She paid for his burial. The government supplied the grave, and Jackie supplied the casket. There’s greatness and goodness in all people, and this woman and her family have both. I wanted to relay this story to touch the hearts of others and in gratitude to the legacy of Jackie and her dad and family.
Daniel Jay McShane,