Memorial Day is a day for remembering American military servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sadly, of the 34 members of the extended Reilly-Douglas-Sayes-Davis families who have served in the military, we remember 3 of them today:
My younger brother, BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr. USN, was one of the 74 men lost in the sinking of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) on June 3, 1969.
The Evans was participating in a SEATO training exercise during a brief respite from gunline duties off the coast of Vietnam. My Dad, GMCM Lawrence John Reilly Sr. (USN Ret) was one of the survivors of the collision, barely escaping from the sinking front half of the ship.
I have blogged here several times on the efforts of the USS Frank E. Evans Association and others to have the names of The Lost 74 added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, thus far to no avail.
One of my father’s uncles, Stephen John Otten, fought with the US Army in Europe during World War I. He received a Purple Heart after being gassed and several years later died as a result of the injuries to his lungs.
Going back even further on my wife’s side of the family, one of her ancestors, John Calvin Busby, was killed in action during the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. He was one of nine family members who fought in the Civil War, eight of them in the Confederate Army.
Unfortunately, I do not have photos of either Stephen Otten or John Busby and do not know any of the details of their military service.
Today is also a day to remember two other groups of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice … The Lost 74 of the Frank E. Evans …
… and the 30 of my West Point classmates who were killed in Vietnam.
On this Memorial Day, I salute all of these men … John, Stephen & Larry … The Lost 74 … and my 30 West Point classmates.