Hearing again the voices of those who died to preserve our independence

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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By Cathy Roberts


Tyrrell Genealogical & Historical Society

History has been on my mind a lot lately. First for personal reasons, as our family had been hoping to hold a memorial service of sorts for my brother back in May.

My brother died back in 1967, serving as a Marine in Vietnam, and quite a few of my aunts and uncles wanted to have some sort of a get-together where everybody could share their memories of him, since it’s been such a long time since he died.

COVID-19 kept that from happening back in May, and we’re working on a new, tentative date. But, in order to prepare for the memorial, my husband and I purchased a box from LegacyBox, sending a lot of old photos as well as home movies and some audio tapes that my brother had sent home from Vietnam. At some point, the guys in his unit were kind enough to “gift” him a new tape recorder (he won it in a poker game), and he was complaining that his voice didn’t sound quite right on it. I’d heard the tapes as a child, played on that same recorder, as it was sent home to my folks, but tonight was the first time as an adult that I’d heard his voice.

I was just a child when he died, and my memories┬ádon’t include the sound of his voice. They include the sound of joy and mischief in his voice when he talked to me, but not the exact sound of his voice.

(Reporter’s note: My first cousin, William “Nip” McClees, recorded a message to his parents on a phonograph record, courtesy of the Pepsi-Cola Co., while a patient in an Army hospital in Texes. He later went to the Philippines and was killed in action on Luzon in January 1945. We treasure the paper disc cut at 78 rpm’s.)