West Point, 1964
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Stanley S. Fracker III on September 6, 2009:
Carl and I were fellow "Michiganders". We met through our common faith and attendance of Lutheran services. We were also teammates on the Cadet Bowling Team.
Carl was the "gentle bear". He could impose his physical strength upon you but never found it necessary. He simply won you over with his genuine, infectious smile.
We had overlapping tours at Fort Knox, KY in 1966-67. He was attending the Armor Officer Career Course and I was an Instructor with the Armor School. I would later be assigned to the 7/1 Air Cav which deployed for RVN in January 1968. Carl would be deployed somewhat later that year.
Although our recollections may not be completely accurate, my wife, Helga, recalls she had to make a second, unforeseen move after my departure and that it was Carl's wife, Bev, who came to her rescue. Helga was expectant at the time with my second daughter, Sue, and was very thankful for Bev's help. Somehow Bev managed to cram our bed and mattress into the back seat of Carl's convertible and transport it to our new location. Helga remembers that her mother, Hildegard, was also a victim of Carl's smile and prepared him some of his favorite german cuisine from time to time.
I regret that I never had the opportunity to share this memory with Carl. Although I grieve for all of our fallen classmates and their families, it hurts considerably more with Carl because it is his face, smile and demeanor I most vividly recall.
I've had the honor of making gravesite visitations to his resting place in Hemlock, MI in 2004 and 2009 and to meet his son, Curt, now a grown man in his own right. He lives near Lake Orion, MI with his wife, Therese. Bev (Solik) has been able to move on as well and lives with her husband, Frank, in Kalamazoo.
It is said that time heals. It may, but I'm grateful it does not erase the images, memories, and impressions Carl has left upon us.
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