Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Belated Honor

Army Master Sgt. Henry F. Biernacki's children never gave up seeking recognition for their dad. Finally, Master Sgt. Biernacki is being honored April 18 at the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington. D.C.
A parents true legacy is in the way that his or her children conduct their lives. I am glad that Master Sgt. Biernacki will be honored in an official ceremony. But, he has been honored all of these years by the people who most count in anyone's life, his family.
His place in history
Lost soldier honored at last at Vietnam wall

Heading into the fourth year of the war in Iraq, Americans have become all too familiar with the military rituals of death - the uniformed officers going to the family home to break the sad news, the flag-covered coffin and the dignified funeral, complete with honor guard and three rifle volleys in salute of the fallen.

It wasn't always this way. Turn back the clock to March 15, 1962.

A Lockheed Constellation airliner with 93 soldiers aboard lifts off from Guam and heads west over the Pacific, aiming for a little-known country that has become a battleground in the war against communism - South Vietnam. Among the soldiers on board the Flying Tiger charter airliner is Army Master Sgt. Henry F. Biernacki, a 31-year-old veteran of the Korean War, where he was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in combat.
But on March 15, 1962, the Flying Tiger Constellation disappeared from the sky. Somewhere between Guam and Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, it went down into the Pacific. U.S. officials launched a search-and-rescue mission but not even debris was found. Sgt. Biernacki and the other soldiers on board never even got to see the war they died in. Back home in Colorado Springs, the Biernacki family learned the terrible news when a telegram came to the door. That was all. A telegram dated March 16, 1962.

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