The Wall of Faces

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JAMES STEPHEN MCARTHUR

  • Wall Name:JAMES S MCARTHUR
  • Date of Birth:3/1/1947
  • Date of Casualty:6/25/1967
  • Home of Record:DARIEN
  • County of Record:FAIRFIELD COUNTY
  • State:CT
  • Branch of Service:MARINE CORPS
  • Rank:LCPL
  • Panel/Line:22E, 64
  • Casualty Province:QUANG TRI

ALFRED WALKER MURPHY

  • Wall Name:ALFRED W MURPHY
  • Date of Birth:9/10/1942
  • Date of Casualty:6/25/1967
  • Home of Record:SAN ANTONIO
  • County of Record:BEXAR COUNTY
  • State:TX
  • Branch of Service:ARMY
  • Rank:CAPT
  • Panel/Line:22E, 63
  • Casualty Province:BINH DUONG

OREN KENNETH MILLER


is honored on Panel 22E, Line 62 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance

REMEMBRANCES

  • On Veteran's Day, 2015

    Posted on 11/11/15 - by Ron Strickland
    Today, Veterans’ Day 2015, I’m reading some notes posted along with my Uncle Kenny’s name and likeness on this website dedicated to Vietnam veterans. I have visited the Wall, and I think it’s a dignified monument that cannot but evoke deep reflection and a sense of humility and gratitude. I think it’s a nice thing for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to provide this website. But I was moved to write something here by a couple of the posts I found. First, let me say something in response to Jim Barto, who wrote, on May 26, 2001: “To a gentle soul, who never got to see his baby. I’ve often wondered why.” Not meaning any disrespect to Mr Barto, I have to insist that, Uncle Kenny did see his son. Unless he had another child of whom none of us in the family were aware, Mr Barto is mistaken. Perhaps he is confusing my uncle with someone else he knew.

    But another post, from someone who makes no claim to having known Uncle Kenny personally, was more unsettling to me. On February 22, 2014, Curt Carter wrote:

    Dear SGT Oren Kenneth Miller, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir -

    Mr Carter’s worshipful attitude toward military service and implied distaste for the current generation of youth is his own business, but it doesn’t have anything to do with my Uncle Kenny, and it offends me that he coopts my uncle’s memory in the service of his political agenda—for there is an implicit politics of conservative militarism in his message.

    In an attempt to do some justice to the real Oren Kenneth Miller, I’m going to write some of my memories of him. I apologize in advance to anyone in the family who may read my remarks and remember something differently or take offense at something I say.

    Uncle Kenny was the youngest child in his family; seven or eight years younger than his two older sisters. He was everyone’s favorite. They all spoke of him as a gregarious, happy child who always had to be in the middle of everything. But he grew up in the midst of the 1950s explosion of youthful rebellion and self-assertion. He was no less a “rebel without a cause” than many other teenagers of that time. I could recount three or four examples of youthful rebellion, but I’ll just mention the saddest one, the one that must have been the most traumatic for him. When he was about fourteen years old he and a friend—maybe a couple of friends—took his father’s car out for a joyride one afternoon while his father was at work. His father came home from work and confronted them when they returned the car. He told the boys that he was going to have to call the police and report that they had stolen his car. The boys asked him not to call the police, but he would not relent. Leaving their fates in the hands of Mr Miller, the boys simply said “okay, do what you have to do,” and they went to a movie. But my grandfather never made that call to the police. He had a weak heart, and he must have been under great stress; he died of a heart attack soon after they left. When Kenny returned home, he learned that his father had died. Their last meeting had been one of anger and recrimination. His uncle, who was waiting at the home, consoled him, reassuring him that he was not responsible for his father’s death, but I can’t imagine that this experience didn’t haunt him from time to time.

    My direct memories of Uncle Kenny date from after his father’s death. Then, he was a bit wild at times, at least by the standards of our community in the 1950s. I recall him as a fifteen-year-old, striking off on foot toward town from our farm five miles outside of town. Word came back that he was venturing into pool halls and bars where my mother, his older sister, would forbid him to go.

    Later, in his early twenties, he seemed to have the world on a string. He had a beautiful silver Corvette roadster, a lovely wife and a nice job as a barber. I was very proud to be associated with him.

    I think he must have been a good soldier; he attained the rank of sergeant within a short period of enlistment after having been drafted. As I recall, we were told that he died after driving a jeep over a land mine, just a few weeks before he was scheduled to come home.

    But it should be noted that my uncle was an “accidental” soldier. He was not a militaristic person. He was older than most other Vietnam-era draftees. As a man of 23 or 24 with a wife and child, he would have had a deferment. He should not have been drafted. But, his wife divorced him—my folks assumed the divorce was initiated by her, and I can recall at least once or twice hearing it said with some bitterness that he wouldn’t have had to go to Vietnam if she hadn’t divorced him. The divorce left him owing a large sum of money to her—or perhaps rather to the furniture stores and other merchants to whom they had gone into debt in order to set up housekeeping. My folks didn’t talk much about money around children, but I recall hearing that they took on the responsibility of repaying his debt, I think their part was $2,700, and another aunt and uncle must have paid a share equal to that. This was a lot of money to them, in the mid-1960s, and the strain must have been worsened by the fact that the two families had teenage children of their own to raise.

    Nonetheless, I never heard anyone complain; they were content with supporting Kenny, even in death. It was the right thing to do.

    Kenny lived an eventful life. His life was a story of youthful optimism and enthusiasm, of lost innocence and family tragedy, of embracing the world as he found it and making it his own by his best efforts and aspirations. I don’t think it does him any honor to be addressed with the tone of militaristic religiosity that suffuses Curt Carter’s message. He should be remembered as the much-loved and universally well-liked person that he was. He was ennobled by his humanity; his memory needs no “best salute a civilian can muster.”
    MORE
  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 2/22/14 - by Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net
    Dear SGT Oren Kenneth Miller, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

    Curt Carter
    MORE
  • We Remember

    Posted on 1/2/10 - by Robert Sage rsage@austin.rr.com
    Oren is buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, MO. PH
  • NEVER FORGOTTEN

    Posted on 5/4/06 - by Bill Nelson grite@yahoo.com
    FOREVER REMEMBERED

    "If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
    Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."

    Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
    KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.

    We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heroes lost to the War in Vietnam:

    Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.

    From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers
    MORE
  • Remembering friends

    Posted on 5/26/01 - by Jim Barto
    To a gentle soul, who never got to see his baby.I've often wondered why? I think of you often.

The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.