Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day, a day to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. In this edition of Veterans’ Voices, Cindy LaPointe-Dafler of Jefferson Township remembers her late husband, Joseph Guy Lapointe Jr. who fought in Vietnam.
Cindy LaPointe-Dafler: The first time I saw him was in the summer of 1967. I saw him across the room in a church basement coffee shop. He was on stage singing and playing. He had the most open, smiling face. His eyes smiled. His face just lit up when he smiled. That was my first impression, he was beautiful. In December… I mean, we had been dating for a while, and in December, I finally confessed to him that I loved him. His reaction was to leap out of my house, climb up the tree, and shout to the world she loves me! And even today gives me chills.
Of course, there was a draft going on. He had applied to several colleges and then he received his draft notice. His take on it was that he would not refuse service, period. He was going to serve. His father served in WWII. He would not dishonor his father.
The weekend before he left for basic training, we went to Roosevelt Shawnee State Park and spent the day there, very much alone. A little later on I realized the results of that day, and we ended up getting married on August 24th of ‘68.
I remember when we got the first telegram to tell us he was MIA. A few days later, two soldiers came to the door, very classic, I guess. They brought the second telegram; told us he had been killed in action. Our son was five months old at the time. When you hear people say the word gut-wrenching. That's what it is. It felt like my guts had been ripped out. I just went in my room. I remember when he got on the plane to go to Vietnam and his face in the window. That was hard.
We went to Vietnam in 1999. Thirty years after Guy was killed. A group of us went to Hill 376 and we trudged up that hill in one-hundred-degree heat. I felt such a pull to get up there. My son was with me and my sister Candy was with me. We felt like their spirits were there, the ones who died, that day. Our son Joe felt it, too. Candy felt it. I think we all did.
Cindy LaPointe-Dafler told her story at WYSO as part of StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative which visited the Miami Valley last summer. Veterans’ Voices on WYSO is presented by Wright-Patt Credit Union with additional support from CareSource. This story was edited by Will Davis and created at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices at WYSO.