Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - A Couple Of My Heroes and a Story

It's been so long since I submitted a Saturday Snapshot that I am a bit ashamed! I just don't know how I fell off the routine of setting aside a photo and making time to address it for Alyce's photo share! Well, I'm back again and will  try to be more consistent! And it's so nice to see all of you again!

This week, I decided to honor a couple of my heroes, it being Memorial Day weekend here in the States and all! So here we go!

First, this is my Dad, Richard William Miller. Dad's going on 91 and has gotten to be somewhat of a lovable curmudgeon. Back in the day, though, he was the life of the party, a real live wire who was nicknamed Bing. Can you guess why? I always thought he looked and sang like Bing Crosby and seeing him in his Naval uniform makes me think it all the more! Dad was in the United States Naval Air Corps at the end of WWII. Thankfully, he never made it into active combat, but he didn't know he'd be sidelined when he signed up. He was able and willing and he joined up like so many other young men of that greatest generation. What a guy! What girl isn't completely enamoured of her Dad? Of course, he's my hero! Thanks, Dad for being brave and true!

My second hero is actually a deceased veteran of the Viet Nam War. His name is Glenn Andreotta and he was an Army helicopter crew chief. In March 1968, he and his helicopter crew came upon one of the most horrific massacres during the Viet Nam War. The My Lai Massacre became notorious for its level of bloodshed perpetrated by our American troops.

Seeing the killing of innocents, Andreotta and his helicopter crew brought their copter down and aided in saving civilian lives and the rescuing some of the wounded civilian women and children. They also put themselves in the way of 'friendly fire' in an attempt to slow the level of killing being ordered by Lt. Calley  and his 'search and destroy' unit. What had started as a mission to find Viet Cong aggressors turned into a 'turkey shoot' of innocent women, children and town elders in the hamlet of My Lai. The scandal that rose from the publicity of this event caused political shock waves and social outcry within the antiwar movement. It was Andreotta and his crew who had the moral fortitude to stand up to military peers and train their own weapons back at them to stop the carnage. For that, I have always thought him a hero. And I still do ...

Weeks after the event, Andreotta was shot down and died in action. He might have passed into anonymity were it not for his buddies, the investigation into the event by military tribunal and the press, and his posthumous award of the U.S. Soldier's Medal, the highest award given for bravery not involved in conflict with the enemy. His name was inscribed on The Wall, years after the Viet Nam War's end.

When my daughter went with her 8th grade classmates to Washington DC, I wanted to make the trip to The Wall more real and important for her. I'd seen this article about My Lai's legacy in our local newspaper and cut out the article. Sara and I talked about the Viet Nam era and my strong feelings about it.  I asked her to research Glenn's name and location, find it, and make me a rubbing of his name for posterity's sake. I didn't know if she would be able to do it, but the kid came through. Her teacher was perplexed, but pleased that she was so persistent. He and the class made time to get the job done. Then, there was the learning about who this one man in over 50,000 other Vets was, why he was so important, and who his peers were. It's one of the neatest things that Sara ever did for her old Mom.

I was just a bit older than she was when the news of My Lai hit the newspapers and media here in the States. I was deeply moved by the cruelty and chaos of the war. This kid's bravery and the bravery of his crew hit a nerve with me. I have saved the rubbing and the news article about his award of The Soldier's Medal for over twenty years and I bring it off my desk every Memorial Day. Thanks Glenn Andreotta; you did the right thing. You are an officer and a gentleman ... rest in peace.

So, there you have it. One hero who I know and love and one hero who I learned of and have deep respect for ... both veterans due our honor.

Now, it's time to head over to Alyce's blog to see what others are posting for their Saturday Snapshots.  BUT WAIT! Changes in Saturday Snapshot tell me that Melinda is now hosting the photoshare!  So hit THIS LINK to take you to West Metro Mommy, the new location! 

Alyce, I hope you are doing well with your move! Thanks for all the time you hosted Saturday Snapshot! And thank-you, Melinda for picking up the baton! 

I hope to be back next week with another snapshot!  Til then ... keep reading and snapping pictures!


  1. A very moving tribute today Susan.
    And, yes, your dad is the spitting image of Bing in his uniform!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to those who gave their lives for their country. I especially enjoyed the story of the soldier whose actions brought an outcry, but ultimately an honor for his courage.

    And your dad must bring so much joy to your life, and I'll bet he has stories to tell.

    Thanks for visiting my blog...and enjoy your weekend.

  3. Nice blog about war heroes. It's easy to admire the one you love; commendable to honor a man who risked his life to save innocent people. Here's Mine

  4. I love the photo of your dad and also the story of how you came to get that wall rubbing. I'm sure that was a great lesson for your daughter.

  5. Growing up, you must have heard a lot of stories about the war from your dad. :-) Thanks for introducing both him and Glenn Andreotta to us and telling why they are both your heroes.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to both fine soldiers, Susan. My husband was in Viet Nam in the same division as Lt.Calley. I wonder if Glenn Andreotta was also from their division. I'll have to ask my husband. I love the photo of your Dad. I love a man in uniform! Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

  7. Such a fascinating post today. I'd never heard of that particular battle or Glenn Andreotta. What an inspired way to get your daughter involved in the story. And yes I definitely see why your Dad was called Bing. What a fresh faced young man he was.

  8. What a great tribute! Thank you for taking part in Saturday Snapshot!

  9. Beautiful and appropriate post for this weekend. I loved it.

  10. Great post sis!