The Wall of Faces

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DENIS O'CONNOR


is honored on Panel 27E, Line 85 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance

REMEMBRANCES

  • Remembered by St Ignatius College Prep (class of '58)

    Posted on 7/14/18 - by Mary DeWitt
    Denis O’Connor was born May 3, 1940, and grew up in San Francisco with his parents and six sisters. In a ’56 Chevy that was the envy of his class, he would drive his sisters to a bus stop near SI every morning on his way to school. “It says a lot about him that he risked his ‘coolness’ by performing this task in his even cooler ’56 Chevy filled with other SI boys,” said his sister Brenda MacLean. “He had a wonderfully sarcastic humor and his little sisters were treated to the daily observations of the world by him and his friends.” His sister Mary Pratto recalls his pride in wearing his junior jacket and his desire to study engineering at SCU. “Having three sisters older and three younger, Denis established himself at a young age as a strong individual,” she added. At SI he also participated in the Sanctuary Society and the Sodality and held a number of class offices.

    Denis’ father, Jim, was a concrete contractor and the owner of D. O’Connor and Son, and Denis worked for him every summer from the time he was 5 to learn the business. After college, he planned to enter the family business and then go into San Francisco politics. “He believed it was possible for an honest patriot to make a difference in San Francisco and even in the country,” said his widow, Patricia (Patty) Ekenberg, who was in her first year at the University of Detroit when she met Denis, a senior.

    A finance major, he was active in ROTC, and after college he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany. Patty and he were married there in 1964, and they had two daughters — Elizabeth, born in 1965, and Christine, born in 1966.

    Denis had a great sense of humor, according to Patty. “Not only was he funny, but he also loved music. He prided himself on knowing the words to every song in every Broadway show and every movie musical.”

    As a member of the 101st Airborne Division, Denis was transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1966 before shipping out to Vietnam for his first tour of duty in 1967. He was killed three months later, on October 10, 1967, from an explosion in Quang Nam, possibly from a grenade or an artillery shell.
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  • Dennis was my neighbor

    Posted on 9/24/17
    My husband and I are watching the current series on the Viet Nam War. What a tragic series of lies and velour. I grew up next store to Dennis. His parents asked me to play my guitar and to sing at his funeral. It was more than an honor. And I hope I validated his service and that of all of the other soldiers who died and who survived. Although I protested the war, I never protested those who served. They did so because of a greater calling and dedication.
    Dennis, you had so much potential.
    Melanie Morgan Fields
    MORE
  • Brother O'Connor

    Posted on 8/29/17 - by Ed Jones sigepswhoserve@gmail.com
    While I never had the honor of meeting Denis, it is truly inspiring to learn about him, and I pledge that the SigEp Patriots Project will always remember his life and selfless patriotic service.
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  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 10/9/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear Captain Denis O'Connor, 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
  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 10/8/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear Captain Denis O'Connor, 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
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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.