Where do I start? Harry is not just a name on a wall, he was a living, breathing young man who at one time meant the world to me. He was an only son who was raised in Pittsburgh, with one older sister who had gotten married and was living (at the time I knew him) in Peabody, Massachusetts. He had worked in the steel mills to earn money for help pay for college, and had enrolled at Purdue University in Indiana in hopes of earning a degree in engineering.
Harry and I met on the campus of Purdue at one of those freshman mixers in September 1968, were lavaliered that December, and became engaged the next April. He enlisted during the fall semester of our sophomore year. (It was either that or get drafted; when the lottery numbers came out, he was way up there.) That February, I visited him while he was in basic training at Fort Knox. He loved listening to "Bridge Over Troubled Water," the Simon and Garfunkel song that had just been released and was frequently on the radio that weekend.
During the summer of 1970, he was able to visit me because he was attending the EOD school at Indian Head (in Maryland) and I was staying with my family in northern Virginia; I remember how solicitous and attentive he was when my wisdom teeth were pulled.
That fall, we went our separate ways when he shipped out to Thailand and I headed overseas to attend school in Germany, but we continued to write to each other. He told me when he decided to volunteer for duty in Vietnam rather than return to the States. Eventually the letters stopped coming and I found out from his parents what had happened. Many years have passed, but I'll never forget him.
From his former fiancee,
Lynn (Graft) Osborn
The database page for Harry Dewitt McWhinney, Jr
Memorial first published on 17 Jun 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009