Saturday gave me reason to pull the letters out of the drawer and quietly read them.
I couldn’t finish one before the tears started welling.
Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice and with it came the reminder that my dad lost an older brother in the conflict. My uncle, Marine Cpl. Richard F. Schuckman, was killed in action May 13, 1952, while serving as a leader of a machine gun squad in Company E. During the night, while defending an outpost, the machine gun squad was engaged by the enemy. The machine gun squad fended off three waves of enemy attack, while my uncle, in the absence of a corpsman, rendered medical aid to those injured in his squad.
The squad ultimately repelled the enemy attack, but in the process, my uncle was mortally wounded.
He was awarded a Silver Star by the President of the United States “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Leader of a Machine gun Squad of Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 13 May 1952.”
The letters addressed to my grandmother came from my uncle’s commanding officers, fellow soldiers and friends, detailing the events of the night and describing the actions my uncle took to save everyone under his command.
There is a sense or sorrow and an even stronger sense of pride that comes with reading every word.
I sense the pain losing an older brother caused my dad when his eyes well up with tears when we talk about the event. I know how hard it was for all of his brothers and sisters. I also know every family member of my generation who never got the chance to meet Uncle Dick feel like we know him from the stories we’ve been told.
Across our nation, so many men and women have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. They’ve left us with heavy hearts, but us more proud then they could ever imagine.
Saturday was a day to remember and reflect, but not a day goes by that I don’t wish my Uncle Dick would have made it home from the war and been able to hunt alongside my dad, my other uncles and my brothers as we were growing up.
A tribute to my uncle resides on the Military Times Hall of Valor web page. Find it by clicking here.