Herman Turner ToweryCaptain
DET A-211 (DON PHUOC), B CO, 1ST SF GROUP, SPECIAL FORCES
Army of the United States
27 April 1934 - 22 October 1964
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Panel 01E Line 067
The database page for Herman Turner Towery
I took a trip today, not thousands of miles like the masses here, but one just as profound. As I journeyed I touched them, all of them and they touched me. As I walked I ran my hand over the names inscribed into the black granite and I heard the voices. They all have stories ...
I heard whispers and painful frightened cries of men, more like boys, many just old enough to vote and shave, and of women. Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers, Husbands and wives. All of those who fought and never made it home.
Viet Nam, the war of wars. The sacrifices American soldiers made should have never been; but they were not the only victims nor the only casualties. There are those who lived through Hell and came home to tell. And though I could never know the pain and suffering, the loss of those who survived and of those who died, I hear their stories.
All I have to do is look at the lone soldier standing at the Wall - his head is bowed, his soul is shattered, his heart is broken, and his friend is dead. And as I watch he reaches forward and touches the name of one who fought beside him. He has memories of their talks, of winning, of defeating, of returning home, and of dying, but they never talked of doing these things alone - never alone.
He stands there, lost in his own thoughts, reliving the terror he tries to forget, his shoulders shudder as he he realizes that he didn't come home whole. I watch as a single tear runs down his cheek and for a moment I feel his pain.
All I have to do is to look at the son standing at the Wall, mourning for the father who went to war and returned in a casket. At four years old he could not comprehend what had happened, his father had been taken from him at a very young age in his life. I watch as he runs through the 'what-ifs' in his mind - and he is alone.
I watch as that same single tear runs down his cheek, as he cries for the memories never made and for the very few memories he has to last him a lifetime. For the father he lost, for the grandfather who never knew a grandchild, and the grandchildren that never knew him. The love is there, along with a painful gaping emptiness that never goes away.
All I have to do is stand next to the woman searching for a name on the Wall. I watch as she locates ... the husband? ... the father? ... the brother? So I ask who it is that she has found on the Wall, she turns to look at me with a small bitter-sweet smile on her face. Then softly she starts to speak....
As she begins, she puts her hand to her mouth, I notice the slight tremble as she catches her breath and I listen as she speaks with emotion of the dear brother she has lost in this tragic war. I watch as that same single tear again escapes and runs down her cheek. Together we stand in silence ... then she turns and walks away.
Yes they all have stories, all these 58,219 names on the wall, they were people, they have faces and they have families. If you stand close enough to the "Wall" you can hear the voices too.
Most important you hear the love and the pride of those names on the "Wall", listen closely to the voices of the living and the dead ... they each have a story to tell.
"Ode to the Wall"
09 Jul 2007
I wanted to let you know that I came by and saw you several times a few years back. I brought my wife with me one year when we met up with a fantastic group of Viet Nam Vets in D.C, and I hope you felt me introduce you to them and to Tracy, my wife. Tracy is a special person for me and to me. She has helped me in so many ways and she wrote the "Ode to The Wall" just for you and me during a visit to "The Traveling Wall", or better known as "The Healing Wall".
She posted "The Ode" on this site and we left a copy of it with a copy of your picture at "The Healing Wall" when it came to Griffin, Georgia. I later returned to D.C. by myself and just sat and talked with you one night. I have never felt as close to you as I did that night, and I felt your touch when I ran my fingers across your name. I know you are watching over me, and are with me always, but I just wanted to let you know that even though I miss you very much, I am so very proud of you and I hope that you know that I am.
I wear my remembrances every day, my MIA/POW cap and the MIA/POW bracelet, and I never let a Viet Nam Vet pass me by without telling him "Thank you for all you did, and Welcome Home". I miss you and wish you could be with me to tell these fine men and women that, but I understand your duty is elsewhere at this time. I hope that I will be able to come and see you again very soon, and I will be bringing Tracy and the kids with me.
I love you, dad, and am so very proud of you.
A Note from The Virtual WallThe following is taken from the "First Special Forces Group (Airborne) Annual Historical Summary" for 1965:
Captain Towery's record is coded as "Died in Captivity" rather than "Killed in Action". According to the POW Network Captain Towery's remains were recovered on 23 October 1964. The Virtual Wall has not been able to resolve the KIA/DIC conflict.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 Nov 2003
Last updated 08/10/2009