Sentiments from the Cobra Lake Reunion by a daughter of a
Vietnam Veteran with the 101st
I went to Cobra Lake for my dad… I stayed at Cobra Lake for me.
For 28 years I have admired my dad. To me, he wasa policeman, a father, and a widower. To me, these were the things that defined him. I never knew that I could be so wrong.
I came to learn over those five intense days at Cobra Lake, that more than anything, my dad is a Screaming Eagle, “Above the Rest”, ABU. The 101st defined his life in ways I never knew. And, since he was the one that raised me, the 101st defined MY life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
I learned so much from that very first day. So many men with so many different professions, coming from so many different states. Yet so many men with a similar sense of humor, a similar kind soul, and a similar story. I watched time and again two men shake hands, say hello, name their state of residence… form a tear in their eye, hug, and say “welcome home brother”. Everywhere I turned it was the same. They didn’t need to share stories; they all had the same story. The didn’t need to ‘get to know each other’; they already knew each other. They were family! And from this, I was family.
As the weekend continued, I was no longer a daughter of a policeman, a daughter of my father, a daughter of a widower. I was a daughter of the 101st! And with each story one of my “uncles” told me, my pride in my family grew.
I went to Cobra Lake to find my dad… I stayed at Cobra Lake and found myself.
I wasn’t only surprised at how similar the men were, I was surprised at how similar the women were. I always thought my sense of humor and my spunky attitude came from being a red-head. How wrong I was, again. Each of the “women of the 101st” were just as spunky, just as independent, and just as humorous. A special bunch of people loving a special group of men.
I’ve had a few ‘turning points’ in my life. Losing my mother to cancer. Graduating from college. I’m sure my wedding day will be one of them. But just as close to my heart, forever, will be these five days at Cobra Lake… these five days with the Screaming Eagles.
As I sit here writing what I’ve learned, I thought about typing up some of the stories. But somehow they seem too precious to put into print. Besides, anyone reading this doesn’t need to hear them; you already know the stories, you’ve already lived them.
My memories of Cobra Lake will include: guitar strings and singing voices under the stars; the look of tears in certain men’s eyes; a mardi-gras bead battlefield as men detailed their stories of Vietnam; the amount of pride you can hear in a “Hoo-Yah”; sitting side by side with warriors; listening to the names of heros read; Bobbipins and Speedos (*giggle*); lots and lots of laughter; the true meaning of camaraderie; and last but not least, a damn fine-looking bunch of men!
Thank you Rick and Ron, Terry and Richard, Tony and Steve, Richard and Dale, Tom and Dave, Daddy and Clyde, Ken and Angie… and to all those I can’t think of right now through the fog in my mind. Thank you for your compassion, your kindness, your laughter, your stories, and ‘the gift of a coin’. Thank you for opening up, shedding tears with me, and letting me into your lives. Thank you for showing me who my dad is. Thank you for showing me who I am.
I just can’t imagine that I’ll have to wait another year for the next time at Cobra Lake. I spent five days among warriors of the greatest kind. And from this, I will never be the same.
God Bless the Screaming Eagles!
Above the Rest & No Slack
Cari with Tom Willard, Medic with Tiger Force