It has been decades since Lawrence Silk fought through three different tours in Vietnam – but due to his dementia, he still wakes up some days and feels like he has to ship out and start fighting once more.
As a means of soothing his troubled mind, however, Lt. Col. Andy LaFrazia stopped by the veteran’s bedside with an important gift.
“He believes he has to return to the war to complete his tour and is very upset that his memory care home will not let him go,” wrote Kenny. “He is currently in hospice care and through his ups and downs, he consistently is haunted by his need to do his duty.”
The couple pleaded for a military official to present their troubled father with some kind of commemoration or certificate that would remind him of his finished service and put his worries to rest.
After being widely shared on Reddit and Facebook, LaFrazia – who coincidentally had served in the same squadron as Silk – volunteered to visit Silk at his care home in Vancouver.
“Today, Lt. Col. LaFrazia presented my dad … with a certificate of appreciation from the US Air Force, a USAF Civil Engineering badge, and challenge coins from the Prime Beef and Red Horse Units,” says Julie.
“He also brought with him a reassuring message that his responsibilities to the USAF and the Vietnam Conflict have been concluded and he never has to worry again about returning.”
Since posting the photos of the exchange on social media, the couple has become inundated with support and appreciation. Though Kenny and Julie don’t know how well the gifts will stave off their father’s dark memories, they are still grateful for the gesture.
“When a loved one loses their memory in the twilight of their life, the most that we can hope to give them is comfort and dignity. We feel truly blessed that a community of strangers came together to help us bring that to him when he needed it the most.”
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Reprint (Photo by Julie Dunn)