Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Jessie C. Alba Is Not Forgotten

This Memorial Day, May 28, 2007, thousands of motorcyclists will converge upon Washington, D.C., to commemorate American military dead, missing and prisoners of war. I saw many motorcyclists heading east as I rode west, returning from my own “Ride to the Walls.” Several friends and I made a pilgrimage to the Vietnam War Wall, Korean War Wall, Police Memorial Wall and the World War II memorial.

I wanted to leave an “In Memoriam” patch, where appropriate, at the memorials. At the Vietnam War Wall, I posted my patch beneath the last name on the Wall, Sgt. Jessie Charles Alba. Sgt. Alba was chosen because I could post the patch without obscuring the names of any of the other lost veterans. In so doing, I created an emotional link to Sgt. Alba, and I’ll never forget him.

Guestbook messages are posted at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial web site. Two messages on Sgt. Alba’s page reach out and grab your heart strings:

Ken Walden wrote:

Sarge was my squad leader
“Screaming Eagle”
He was 100% Paratrooper!
He is part of my everyday life.
I will never forget him!
Sarge sometimes I can hear your call, safe in your refuge, behind the wall.

Mary Ann Lopez, Sgt. Alba’s fiancée, wrote:

To My Life Long FriendI Mary Ann know this hero very well. We became engaged in Nov. 1967. We were high school sweethearts. I remembered how proud he was of his uniform and being given a chance to prove to his country that he was ready to die for it if necessary. The military was his whole life. I knew I would come second in his life once we would marry, but I knew that the love he had for me and for the army would be more than enough for us both. I loved him with all my heart and soul. I was to plan for our wedding at end of December 1968 when he would return from Vietnam. Last time I saw him standing proudly in his uniform was December 1967. Little did we both know that it would be our last time together. I waved goodbye to him as his plane took off taking him to Fort Campbell Kentucky where he would leave to war. He was a paratrooper with the 101st airborne division. And yes, he was and always will be my hero. He paid the ultimate price and so did I and his family. He was so young and full of life. Even now after so many years past I still think of him and what our lives could of been. In 1996 I got a chance to see the Vietnam wall with his name on it and since I got there at night time it was so overwhelming for me. The wall is so hugh and very scary in a way. I finally found his name and how ironic it was that his name is the last one almost all by itself at the end. I thank God I got a chance to see his name on the wall along with all the other heroes too. My heart is at peace now and I was finally able to say goodbye after all these years. He is with God now and may he rest in peace.

Sgt. Alba died of multiple fragmentation wounds in Thua Thien, South Vietnam, on May 25, 1968, thirty-nine years ago today. On the day that he lay bleeding and dying, I was about to graduate from college after having taken advantage of a student military draft deferment. Shortly thereafter, my military draft induction was thwarted by an Army doctor. Time has revealed that the doctor’s medical decision was not justifiable. Perhaps his decision was personal.

I suffer from guilt for not having done my part. The only thing that I have to give to Sgt. Jessie Charles Alba is a lump in my throat, a tear in my eye and my eternal gratitude for his sacrifice for my family and me. Thank you Sgt. Alba.

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