Regional Get-togethers of Classmates
10 December 2016, The COS '60 Christmas Party.
Click HERE for details.
21 December 2016, COS '60 luncheon 12:30 at Falcon Club.
Contact: Wayne Kendall, email@example.com
RG Head's speaking schedule:
COS 11-18 March 2017, Wash. D.C. 7 April 2017.
Click HERE for details.
Having a get-together? Notify others HERE.
Veteran's Day memories from Ed Leonard's daughter, Tracy.
"This Veteran’s Day marks
the second anniversary of the death of my father, the consummate war hero. I
think of him every day, but when I think of him I see him as more than this
tired cliché. I know he saw his own life as a pilgrimage, with a twist of
magical realism to sustain him during hard times. Not an extravagant man, he
always cherished the simple things. And in the end, it was the simplicity of an
ice cream cone during a short road trip we took together that sums up my memory
of him best. At the time, racked with pain, his back crumbling, he had asked me
to drive him to the VA in Portland for medical care because he was deteriorating
away slowly in bed at home.
It must have been an
excruciatingly painful ride along that narrow highway, but when he spotted a
roadside ice cream shack up ahead he made me pull over so he could go in and
order a vanilla soft-serve on a wafer cone. It seemed like a nutty idea for him
to climb out of the car and make his way into that store, but he didn’t want me
to bring his treat back to him….he demanded that he go in and get the damn thing
himself. And it took him over half an hour.
The Dalai Lama is quoted as
saying, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” In 1973, shortly after
my dad returned, he and I flew out together to visit his parents. At some point
over the Rockies our plane encountered turbulence so extreme that even the
stewardesses were crossing themselves. I remember grabbing my dad and crying,
but when I looked up at him he was calmly reading a magazine and nursing his
drink (of course he was!). Without blinking an eye, he explained to me that
planes never crash --- an ironic statement coming from a man who knew about
crashing airplanes! My dad’s life seems to frequently reflect a fiercely
independent determination to endure the tumult, blunt force traumas of life, on
the one hand while taking the time to savor its simple pleasures on the other,
like a vanilla ice cream cone at a roadside scoops shack out in the middle of
That our drive to Portland
might be our last, that he might actually be going down for the last time, was
irrelevant to him. It wasn’t even the point. For the duration of the ride, and
in spite of the pain, he savored his cone, misted up as he talked about his
brothers in arms (the men I believe he truly loved the most) and reminisced
about his childhood. He discussed the state of the Seahawks, revisited his
favorite stories about his beloved nephew, Don, and looked out the window in
peace and with even a bit of joyous abandon.
I feel blessed to have met
some of you and blessed that my father shared stories about all of you with me.
I know my dad loved every one of you so dearly. As always on Veterans Day, I
will say prayers in his memory and prayers also for all of you. God
Much Love, Tracy
Kenny Fields also remembers and replies to Tracy
Thank you for sharing with me your
personal, wonderful and elegantly worded memories of your father, Ed. And I
greatly appreciate your prayer on my behalf.
My very first meeting with Ed was when
he appeared in his Sandy A-1 100 feet above the jungle canopy surrounding me in
Laos...perhaps 200 feet distant from my location on the ground while surrounded
by enemy troops. After quickly advising him over the radio, "You should be able
to spot me now off your starboard wing", I stared in disbelief when his head
turned to his left. As countless AAA tracers shot past his plane, barely
missing his canopy, I screamed, "No, off your right wing." When his head
twisted right, I waved my arm and Ed coolly replied, "I have you in sight
Streetcar." Immediately after that, a tracer round impacted Ed's engine,
causing it to seize.
I still have a vivid image of that
scene when we first met...with Ed in his cockpit peering down at me as if we had
eye contact while bullets and tracers were soaring...and the fact that Ed made
such a gallant effort on my behalf is all I need to know what kind of man he
was. I fell in love with him at that very moment.... And during my personal
contact with Ed in the following years, nothing ever caused any of my love for
him to fade.
My very best,
Kenny Fields, Streetcar 304"