How Could They Have Been Forgotten?
B F Malone
Although the memorial is a fitting tribute, it was not complete that day. Something was missing. There were twelve names omitted from the Memorial. Although the twelve men were born and raised in Philadelphia, officials left their names off the Memorial because their families had moved away from the Philadelphia area.
However, on the tenth anniversary of the completion of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial, officials added the names of the twelve men. Now they join their brothers on the Memorial, finally given the recognition they so rightly deserve.
The twelve names added this past October were:
Richard Bariglio, SFC Army, Sept. 26, 1932- November 10, 1969
Patrick M. Corcoran, Seaman Navy, Date of Birth: unknown Killed: June 3, 1969
Patrick T. De Marco, PFC Army, March 2, 1948- January 13, 1969
Richard J. Flagiello, PFC Army, June 29, 1949- May 12, 1969
Stephen B. Kirschner, PVT Marine Corps, June 22, 1947- January 8, 1968
Joseph E. Lauer, December 19, 1948-May 31, 1968
Thomas C. Mann, SGT Army Selective Service, October 12, 1948- January 11, 1969
Frank J. Mastromatteo, LCPL Marine Corps, February 3, 1949- April 8, 1968
Francis G. Patton, PFC Army Selective Service, December 6, 1945- May 13, 1969
Henry N. Rockower, PFC Army Selective Service, April 27, 1946- April 2, 1970
Charles E. Smith, PSG Army Regular, January 3, 1921- January 15, 1967
Guido Silvestro Reali, Jr., April 26, 1943- February 7,1968
David H. Cooper III, 2LT Marine Corps Regular, June 22,
1941- March 25, 1967
There is another man from Philadelphia that I wanted to tell you about, who was also killed in the Vietnam War. His name is Robert J. Sanders. I live in Philadelphia, and although I did not know this man personally, he was the brother of my sister's best friend.
One day, while visiting his house with my sister, I remember seeing a picture of him on their stereo in his uniform. Even those of us who did not lose a family member to the Vietnam War, have a memory or two that comes to mind whenever we think back to the turbulent decade of the 1960's. I would also like to tell you a story of another man whose name does not appear on the Memorial. His name was Freddie Tree. I never did find out if that was his real name or just a name they called him because he was very tall. His death was indirectly related to wounds he received during his time in Vietnam. He took his own life just a few months after returning to the United States. The doctors could not repair the damage done to his legs and they were going to have to take them from him. It was too much for him, and he felt that suicide was the only way to relieve his anguish.
I mention him because on the morning he took his own life, he was in a car parked in a lot that was on my way to school. His exact time of death could not be determined, but he may have been in his car as I walked past that morning. He was also a friend of one of my older brothers. There are many casualties of war that are not as recognizable as a name on a wall.
Living in the 'City of Brotherly Love', there is a passage from the Bible that comes to mind when I think of the ones who are no longer with us. It is Hebrews 13:1: "Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
I believe the men that laid down their lives for me were angels. Although I may not have known them, it mattered not to them to give their lives for a stranger, a stranger like me.