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Fallen comrades deserve more respect
First of all, let me say that I’m a Vietnam veteran. I served with the 4th/39th 9th Infantry Division mostly in the Mekong Delta in 1968. Those people who know me are aware of what I went through while serving in Vietnam, but this is not about me, it’s about those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
I rode my bicycle from Greenfield over to the Soledad cemetery on Memorial Day to honor two of my close friends who lost their lives in Vietnam, Wally Skinner and Rudy Serrano. Wally was a Marine and Rudy was in the Army. We lost Wally and Rudy in 1968. Wally was my best friend at Gonzalez High School, and Rudy and I had several classes together, also at Gonzalez High School.
When I arrived at the cemetery, I noticed that the people in charge of the cemetery had put small American flags at the graves of the fallen military individuals, which I thought was a very respectful gesture. But (there’s always a but) they didn’t even bother to clean the dirt off of the gravestones nor the weeds that had grown over some of them.
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, that was very disrespectful, not only to the fallen individual but to the surviving family members of those individuals.
Although I was in my bicycling clothing, I took the time to clean the dirt off of the stones, that’s the very least I could do for my two buddies Wally and Rudy and all the rest of my fellow veterans who have left us, but will forever be in our hearts.
Again, this is only my opinion about what the people who work at the Soledad cemetery should have done, but didn’t. I’m certain there are others out there who feel the same way that I do — that was very disrespectful.
Ernest Gallardo Sr.