Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Kari Hould
PCN Correspondent 

More than a name on a wall


October 7, 2020

Phillips County Gold Star Mother Mae Walsh.

On the Memorial Wall in Washington, DC on the VVM Wall, Panel 31w, Line 61, one will find the name "WALSH, TRUMAN J. and February 25, 1969, is a day Mae Walsh will never forget. It was on that day that her son, Truman, age 20, died in combat fire in VietNam. Truman had been drafted into the US Army on November 22 of 1968 from his home at Zortman and died 3 months and 3 days after his entry date.

Mae Walsh, Truman's mother, is a Gold Star Mother, which is defined as any woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident that has lost a son or daughter in active service in the U.S. military (regardless of the place or time of the military service, regardless of whether the circumstances of death involved hostile conflict or not, and including mothers of those missing in action). Mae is an active resident in the Hi-Line Retirement Center and always brings a smile to the face of those she is visiting with.

That smile was shared in a small CoVid limited gathering on Sunday, September 27th at the home by her sisters of the Buster Deo VFW Post 4067 Auxiliary. With a small party with refreshments, the afternoon was shared reminiscing about the past. It was when she was presented with a card signed by community members and friends and presented with a solar light in memory of her son that the smiles turned to tears in remembrance. Those weren't the first tears she has shed over the loss of her son and probably won't be the last. But, she feels they are cleaning and healing tears...and she recalls the happy times with her son.

The card had a picture of Truman on it, and inside was a poem written to remember the day. Two pages of signatures of those who were sending their thoughts and prayers to her were on pages that followed. On the back of the one signature page was a military flyer provided to Mae by the Department Commander for the State of Montana VFW commemorating the event, and had a 50-year pin attached as well as a lapel pin remembering those lost in the VietNam conflict. Ms. Walsh was also presented with a gold base with a red and white ribbon. Attached to a gold ribbon was a "Fallen But Not Forgotten" pin attached to a blue heart.

"You guys made my day", Mae stated with tears flowing and said that no one else would have honored her in this manner, which is one that is special to her. Gold Star Mother's Day is recognized the last Sunday each year in September. Though age and memory are attempting to get the upper hand on Mae, she thoroughly enjoyed the visit, the refreshments, and the hugs that came wrapped with laughs. Neither age nor memory loss was evident when she was presented with the card ~ her eyes light up as she read it from top to bottom..." OH! My Truman...." and the memories ran down her cheeks...this time a little softer than in February of 1969.


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