Moved by exchange with individual at war memorial

To the Editor:

On July 28, I was on my way to the Vietnam War Memorial that I created for New Milford.

I was going to place a Vietnam wreath and a POW/MIA cover in front of the memorial for the Village Fair Days.

When I arrived, I saw a man standing in front of the memorial with his head down. I walked up to him and noticed he was crying.

I introduced myself to him and asked him if and when he was in the country. He said, “I was in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. It was very bad.”

He started to cry again. I put the wreath down in front of the memorial, and he said to me, “I’m not from New Milford, but I was at the unveiling July 15, but it was too emotional for me, so I had to leave.”

He continued. “You see, Ray, I have been thinking about committing suicide for a long time. I heard that you had created a memorial in tribute to all the men and women who served in Vietnam.

“I came back again this morning to look at the memorial, and I know now that something has been missing for a long time,” he said. “I think I’ve now found closure.”

He turned to me and shook my hand, and said, “Ray, thank you. You may have saved my life.”

He turned and walked away. After he left, the first thought that came to me was an old gospel song called “Amazing Grace.”

Ray Crawford

New Milford