Charles D. Allen, Jr.
My father was KIA on March 16th, 1971…..just three days after my third birthday. He was a US Army Captain with the Special Forces, and he was only 24. His aircraft went down in the Quang Tri Province, both he and his co-pilot did not survive.
I often wonder how things might be now, if he had made it home alive. Would he be proud of me? Am I the man he wanted me to be? I think about all of the fishing trips, football games, etc that a father and son build memories around…..and I don’t have them. I have photos of us together, but I can’t recall the situations. People and friends say that I sound like him, or look like him, or act the same way he did…..but I have to take their word for it.
I have a footlocker of memories, filled with uniforms, medals, buttons, rings, certificates, plaques…..but none of it will every call me “son” or say “I love you.”
However, the one thing I do have is his name. Being his only child, I am named Charles David Allen III. With tremendous honor and respect for my Father, and for those who also carry the same burden as I and with their Fathers’ names, I sign and say my name completely…..so everyone knows that there was someone before me. I will always know that someone came before me.