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Sam Yates, Class of ’63, Before and After Quang Nam

Panel 1W, Line 119

In that long gone summer,
He was a star,
Played the guitar,
And drove a fast car.

Life was a whirl.
He got the girl.
Kissed her once
And sailed off into the sun.

Now he’s just a name on The Wall.
Cut into stone.
Cut to the bone.
Long gone. That’s all.

LCpl Samuel Walter “Sam” Yates (1945-1973)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John the River August 5, 2018, 1:35 PM

    There’s a new traveling Vietnam War Wall memorial, larger and the names are in relief so families can do pressings. It was in Weymouth last week. My girlfriend wanted to see it so we went there. Her first two husbands had been in Vietnam and then she had three names from her high school class written down that she wanted to find. We found them and I took pictures.
    In my mind I’ve always associated that kind of activity with dark overcast skies, a light rain and cooler. But that day was hot, cloudless and the grass was as dry as a bone. A constant line of cars kept coming and going while we were there, in each car there was at least one elder.

    They are calling this memorial ; “The Wall that heals”.


  • Terry August 5, 2018, 1:54 PM

    My graduation class year as well. Have never been to the wall or the traveling versions. Don’t think I could take it in very well.

  • J. S. Bridges August 5, 2018, 3:27 PM

    Had a H.S. classmate who received an appointment to the Air Force Academy at our graduation who became a fighter pilot after completing the Academy, and died in a crash during combat over ‘Nam while serving there – his name’s on the wall; I saw it there while on a vacation trip to D.C., back in 1991 or 1992. Also had a second cousin who went into the Marines in 1965, and was killed while on a recon patrol somewhere in the Delta territory – his name’s on there, too.

    Don’t know how much “healing” might have come from the Memorial, though…Too many names, all of ’em dead and gone…

  • Paul Joyce August 5, 2018, 4:42 PM

    I spent 6 years in the Navy from ‘85 to ‘91 in the submarine force. My dad fought in Leyte, Luzon and Okinawa. Purple Heart. Never spoke of it much. I remember when my neighbor returned home from ‘Nam around ‘73. I remember it because the whole neighborhood came out and a lot of WW2 vets like my dad knew how special it was for this kid to make it back. God bless Sam and his terrible sacrifice, and to hell with the war mongers of today, McCain worst of all, he should know better.

  • Becky August 5, 2018, 7:08 PM

    Thank you.

  • pbird August 5, 2018, 9:11 PM

    Don’t see how it could heal anything. But it is an acknowledgment.
    I am of the class of 66, so some us died there too.

  • Edward Long August 5, 2018, 9:47 PM

    Never met young Sam, but I know he gave everything to defeat the Communist agenda of world domination. Only the draft dodgers and Fortunate Sons talk about Vietnam combat losses being needless. Freedom costs and the young Mr. Yates bought it for us. Thank you Lad!

  • Casey Klahn August 6, 2018, 4:34 AM

    The story of Vietnam is an epic tragedy for America. Leave your politics, your putrid politics, at the door. This memorial is for remembrance, and healing. My classmate’s older brother is on the wall. He died a hero and received the DSC.

  • Scullman August 6, 2018, 8:59 AM

    “Run For The Wall”.
    A 13 day motorcycle ride from L.A. to “The Wall” in D.C.
    Started by Vietnam Veterans thirty years ago to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of all veterans.
    I made the ride in 2007 as a photographer/ journalist. Not a veteran.
    One of the most impactful experiences of my life, and I personally observed Vietnam Veterans who had not been able to successfully begin their healing process, start their journey out of that darkness during those two weeks over many cups of coffee and hours of sharing with their fellow combat veterans and literally being helped to walk up to that Memorial Wall and face the thing they feared the most.
    May, 2019 will be the Thirty-first Run to The Wall.
    There is healing there.
    By the thousands.

  • Missy August 6, 2018, 5:15 PM

    Via Google and an Air Cav forum I located a soldier who remembered the incident and medic who pulled my beloved’s body from his shot down helicopter in a hot LZ in 1970. Aviation fuel was dripping all over the medic, and he was later awarded the Silver Star for this. I finally found and telephoned him three years ago. At first he was angry and suspicious and complained that he was watching a football game and for me to get to the point. Then we talked for two hours. Emotionally. He is still pretty angry, divorced many times, but he was kind to me after a bit and even funny at times. He made me promise to visit him and get drunk together. Sounds like the Cav. Healing? Don’t even ask.

  • pbird August 7, 2018, 12:49 PM

    I appreciate that story Missy. I am sorry about your beloved. I was pregnant so I didn’t let mine go.

  • born in a dogtrot August 11, 2018, 8:41 AM

    Went to Quang Nam too. 23 years old; troops all looked like kids, like Sam. Amazing displays of courage, brotherly love, and patriotic devotion.We should thank God, and the USA, for soldiers of Sam’s caliber. Remember him well; he is legion.

    Angry still…