A special letter from Marilyn Searcey, daughter of Frederick Killmon
There are over 58,000 names on The Vietnam Memorial Wall. So many men and women gave their lives during the Vietnam War and when one stands before the wall, it seems like an endless list of faceless, meaningless names etched in black stone. But at Panel 7W, Line 27, if I stand on a ladder and stretch up high, I can touch a name that is significant to me – the name of my father, Frederick Russell Killmon.
He was just 19 years old when he enlisted in the US Marine Corp, knowing full well that he would go to foreign soil to fight for his country, and wanting to make his family proud. It is hard to imagine many 19 year olds these days who would endure the hardship of this brutal war. The conditions were deplorable, their tasks required wisdom far beyond their years, and they lived in a constant state of high alert throughout their tour. But my father and his comrades were brave young men and they rose to the occasion, proving that 19 year old boys can rise up and be men when duty calls.
It was August 31st when duty called, and my father willingly went up a Vietnam mountainside to defend our freedom. He was just weeks from ending his tour and returning home to Delmar, MD, where he would hug his mother and father, and with joy and pride they would embrace their only son, their only child. But on this day in 1970, enemy fire would end his young life. He would return to his small hometown, draped in the colors of our nation.
I was just nine months old when my father gave his life in war. I never saw him, and he never held me. Thirty-seven years after he was killed in action, I was privileged to meet his fellow Marines who were with him that fateful day. I got to know more about my father, and they got to see that his legacy lives on. As his dear friend and comrade, Roger, says, “When a soldier gives his life, it is not just the sacrifice of his young life that is given, but the sacrifice of everything that he would have experienced if he had come home. That’s the real sacrifice.”
We are proud of Frederick Russell Killmon. His is not just another name on the wall. Though his life was short, it was powerful, and now over 50 years later we are still amazed at how his story has brought so much healing and comfort to his comrades who carry with them the memories of war.
The Frederick Russell Killmon Foundation is one way we are ensuring that his memory will carry on and lives will be changed through educational scholarships and special project grants in his name.
We are a veteran run organization that provides scholarships to young people either contemplating a career in the military and/or have participated in a JROTC program at their high school.
Our vision is to see that young people achieve what they want and nothing stops them from achieving their goals and ambitions.