PFC Sigard Richard Grimstad – KIA May 19, 1968
Your “number” came up in the draft. Wanting to be well trained for combat you chose to enter the Marine Corps, saying “I want to be prepared and train with the best!” It was June, 1967 when you left for Parris Island, certainly not the best time to go to that southern vacation spa. Later on you went to advanced training. I could not wait to see you again. It was the fall and you came home on leave and said that you would be sent to Vietnam shortly. Again, in early December you came home on leave to say, what would be your last “goodbye”. Actually, it was “See ya” as only you could say with that wide grin and twinkle in your eye. You were very concerned about the people you loved, your Mom and me. You made me promise to go out with other people, you always thought of others that is one of the reasons I loved you so much. Saying that you might not walk out of there the same way you walked in you wanted me to maintain a social life during your tour. It was Christmas Eve when you called me to say that the next day you would be shipping out – certainly not the greatest Christmas gift, but it was the last time I ever hear your voice. You knew it was your duty and you were ready to serve.
Writing letters, waiting for your letters to arrive was how I occupied my time. Reliving the moments that we spent together, remembering every word you spoke to me and seeing your face, you were always in my thoughts. From time to time I visited with your Mom. I recall one chilling night in March. She told me that she saw you standing next to her bed and you simply said “Mom, I’m coming home”. She was only troubled by the fact that your face looked so sunburned. At the time I thought “Oh my God he’s going to die” and began to shake inwardly not wanting your Mom to see that I was upset. I now know the reason you looked so sunburned in her vision – she had you laid out in an open coffin. Your skin was “sunburned” from the mortician’s cosmetics.
You had many names: Sigard, Sammy, Rich, Richie, but I know that no matter what name you answered to you were always “Buddy” to all who knew you. You were an only child but as a Marine you came to have many brothers!
May 19, 1967 – the marriage proposal – could it be that one year later you would be gone?
“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie…”
In Flanders Fields by Lt. Col. John McCrae MD
It was a couple of days before my birthday that I received the “news” from your Mother. The funeral procession was too long to count the cars. It was a testament to your wonderful character: considerate, saw the good in people, honesty, sense of humor and other fine qualities! I stood next to a tree while “Taps” played and watched them lower your coffin into the ground. Part of my spirit went into the ground with you – but it has been replaced by a hidden strength that the loss of you has brought to me. For that gift of strength, I thank you.
“Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you”
Bookends Theme by Simon & Garfunkel
You will be young forever and so will I whenever I visit that place in my heart where you reside!