This is a question that is asked by former Marines of Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment who served in Vietnam from
1965 to 1970. The reasons for not attending include rekindling memories, which were put behind when we returned home or spent years trying to
forget. Other reasons are "I will not know anybody.", "I don't belong here.", "Nobody will remember me." or "It
will be the opening of old wounds and I am not sure I can handle it."
I believe I can answer the above question since I have attended the Mike 3/7 reunions since 1989. It is an opportunity to establish your
place in history - to meet the Marines who came before you, Marines who served the same time as you and the Marines who came after you. You
will learn how the war in 1965 was different for the Marines of 1968. You will meet Marines who made the amphibious landing in 1965 and the
Marines who survived the 1968 Tet Offensive. You will meet Marines who survived the over run of Tin Dau Hill in 1966 and Hill 25 in 1967. You
will learn the history of Mike 3/7, its legacy and the heritage you left behind. Most of all, you will meet the men who made up Mike Company from
1965 to 1970 and served during a time it was unpopular to do so.
The Reunion will bring closure to your Vietnam War experiences. It will give you an opportunity to learn what happened to the Marines
who left before you and the Marines who remained behind when you left country. It is an opportunity to renew acquaintances and comradeship, to
express feelings and thoughts to comrades you never did during the war and to learn what happened to your comrades and to be proud of their
accomplishments and achievements.
Because of the Mike 3/7 reunions, I was able to meet Marine comrades who served with me during my tour in Vietnam. I was able to
spend time with them and renew our friendship and bond. I would not trade these experiences for anything in the world because two of my Marine
comrades have passed away since 1993. I thank God that I had the opportunity to see them again, meet their families and friends and spend time
together before their untimely deaths. I do not have to look back and wish that I had, but didn't. I had the opportunity because of the reunions to
share with them my feelings and thoughts. I have no regrets. I urge you to seize the time because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We,
of all people, should know this best of all.
I have not heard anyone express the reasons for reunions better than former Marine Michael Norman in his book "These Good
Men". I would like to end this article and answer the title question by quoting this passage from his book:
“I know now why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep
on one another's knee. Comrades gather because they long to be with men who once acted their best, men who suffered and sacrificed,
who were stripped raw, right down to their humanity. I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the United States
Marine Corps. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never since given anyone such trust. They were willing
to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain
we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another. As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, everyday. I am
sure that when I leave this world, my last thoughts will be of my family -- and my comrades, such good men.”