2nd Platoon, C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade
Prior to attending Charlie Company’s 2005 Reunion, June 19th was just another date on the calendar. It was simply 3 days before my husband Chris’ birthday – time to shop! Oh, I knew that Dad had been shot in Vietnam in 1967. I was vaguely aware that it was around 6 months from the time he left his bride of 2 weeks, but the actual date? No. Why didn’t I know? I’m sure that my brother and I had heard the date mentioned before, especially on the rare occasions when Dad got out his Purple Heart and the actual bullet that almost took his life. I’m embarrassed that it didn’t sink in – that the day, my future almost ended before it began, came and went without a thought every year. Did Dad think about that day each year? I honestly don’t know. We just didn’t talk about it much. We knew the stories by heart (and that’s what they seemed to a kid, just stories, not reality) about the brave medic who was killed helping Dad. Bill Geier was always a larger than life character in this story and my hero to be sure, but when I saw his pictures and met his family, I realized that he was probably just a scared kid like my Dad – and I admire him all the more for it.
Some of you may remember Dad’s penchant for practical jokes and fun – usually at someone else’s expense. We kids were not spared. My earliest memories of Dad’s “bird” leg are very vivid because I thought that I was going to cure it. I knew I could because Dad told me that if I rubbed lotion on his back, leg and foot every night after work, it would grow back to the same size as his good leg. He claims to have no recollection of ever saying this, but it was years before I wised up enough to think, “Wait a minute…..”All those years of free massages must have done some good, though, because he could beat me at any sport we ever tried, “bird” leg or not. He probably still can!
This year, June 19, 2005 is also Father’s Day. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute for my Dad and for all the Dads who were there that day in 1967. I know I’ll be giving him a special squeeze that day and all the June 19ths in the future. Thanks Dad! I love you with all my heart.
Amber Bryan Kristek (Tiger Lu)
June 18, 2005