|1990... A rare visit to my Mom's home in Tucson. In 1970 my Dad died from a heart attack and left her without a pension, and no insurance. Because Pete was still MIA, my Mom was eligible to receive a portion of his pay. In 1972 she moved to Tucson to be with my sister. By 1978, when the DOD changed the status of all MIA's to KIA, she had purchased a small home and managed to save enough to sustain herself. |
While on my visit Mom suffered a stroke, fell and broke her hip. After rehabilitation for her leg and speech, she moved to Michigan to stay with me. I planned to build an addition to my house, but her condition worsened and she entered a nursing home in the Spring of 1993. After two more strokes and a lengthy stay in the hospital, she returned to the nursing home and died in the Fall of 1993.
In the Spring of 1993 I learned about the satellite imagery which showed Pete's escape and evader code outside Dong Vai prison in North Vietnam. The Air Force then sent me a transcript of the Larry King Live show and informed me of the pending excavation of the crash site. The Air Force went through the motions of 'identifying the remains' and the 'forced burial' of commingled remains in Arlington.
I never told my Mother about the satellite imagery and she died before the results of the site excavation. This was a very difficult decision, but the DOD had put her through hell and she deserved some piece of mind. I guess after 24 years, she convinced herself as I had that Pete must be dead since he has not returned and the USG would surely not lie about a thing like this. Without a doubt, the revelations about live POW's still held in North Vietnam would have tormented her until her death.
|What She said over 25 years ago
is still true today...
Will we wait forever? Will those left behind wait forever?
June 23, 1982