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Captain William Lorimer IV
Commander, Co. C, 229th AHB
First Cavlary Division (AM)

Not for fame or reward,
Not goaded by ambition or lured by necessity,
But in simple obedience to discipine as he understood it,
This man Dared all - Suffered all - And died!

                                              Ralph Harrison McKim

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"Hope things stay quiet today," he wrote March 9, 1970. "They sure were hectic yesterday. Give my love to everyone. Love Bill."

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Kathy & Robert Neis       John & Bill Lorimer


She touches Wall, Dad touches back
Child of St. Cloud native who was killed in Vietnam meets others who lost out on real Father’s Day

WASHINGTON, D.C.Julia Lorimer couldn’t find a Father’s Day card for her father. Nothing seemed to fit.
   Bill Lorimer IV, a St. Cloud native, has been dead for more than 22 years. Julia, North Oaks, is just 23.
   She doesn’t remember his hugs and kisses. Nor does she remember rides on his shoulders.
   Why, she really hasn’t celebrated Father’s Day with him before.
   Until this year.
   Julia, and a group called Sons and Daughters In Touch, is in Washington, D.C., to do that.
   They are some of the children of the 58,132 Americana killed in the Vietnam War.
   This is their first national gathering. And what a gathering it will be.
   Rap sessions, speakers, dinners and, of course, a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are scheduled.
   Today, sons and daughters will place roses by their fathers’ names.
   Julia will add a Father’s Day card —a homemade one.
   "A lot of people tell me, ‘You didn’t even know him. How could you be so upset?’"
   Even Julia’s mother, Pat Marcus of North Oaks, admits wondering that.
   Of Bill’s three kids, Julia is the only one who has come to the gathering.
   She’s the only one with the insatiable appetite to learn more about her father.
   It doesn’t seem to fit. Julia is the youngest.
   Her brother, Bill, 28, was 5 when his dad died. Her sister, Jennifer, 29, was 6. Julia was just 15 months old.
   "But I guess Julia’s a dweller," Pat says. "I’m a doer."
   Julia can’t explain it either. She even admits to feeling guilty sometimes for not being able to let go of her father.
   But maybe not anymore. Not after she meets people from Sons and Daughters In Touch.
   The new group’s mission is to introduce these people to each other and help begin what it calls the healing process.
   Julia, a recent St. Cloud State University graduate, found out about the group through the St. Cloud Vietnam Association.
   The chapter was looking to send somebody to the gathering. Julia’s name popped up.
   She was grateful and scared. She hopes to find others who share her feelings.
   Does anybody else, for instance, wonder what their dad’s laugh was like?
   Do they wonder what their lives would’ve been like had he lived?
   And do they ever get angry with him?
   "Why did he put his men before his family?" Julia asks.
   Bill planned a military career, much like his father. William Lorimer III was an ROTC offical at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
   Bill joined ROTC while he, too, was St. John’s in the early ‘60’s. He met Julia’s mom, a student at St. Cloud Beauty College, in the fall of ’62.
   The two married his senior year and after graduation began the nomadic path of a military family with US Army.
   By the time Bill was sent to Vietnam in ’69, he and Pat had three kids, including Julia.
   He often said he wouldn’t leave until he saw Julia walk. Now Julia wishes she had never walked.
   Bill’s love for the military waned in Vietnam. Like other soldiers there, he grew disillusioned with the war. Pat saw it in the letters he wrote home.The letters also revealed a soldier who hoped to see his family again.
   "Hope things stay quiet today," he wrote March 9, 1970. "They sure were hectic yesterday. Give my love to everyone. Love Bill."
   On March 10, word came that the Viet Cong were about to overrun some American troops.
   Bill, a 27-year-old helicopter pilot, volunteered to rescue them. He went back and forth several times.     On the last trip, he got hit. Pat says a he was wearing a flak jacket, but a bullet went through a seam.      Two military men brought the news to her parents’ home in Wheaton where she was staying.
   That spring and summer, she says; is a blur. She remembers arranging to have her brother, who was serving in Vietnam, accompany Bill’s body to Wheaton, where he was buried.
   And she remembers her and her sister picking up her kids and going west on a three-month vacation.
   Much of the rest is fuzzy, including how she broke the news to the kids.
   They were so young," she says. "I suppose they didn’t have many questions. And I probably didn’t want to bother them"
   Pat sought to put the memories behind her. The controversy over the war helped, because many people could not talk about the war without getting mad in those days. And, so, not much was said.
   Julia doesn’t remember much. She did grow up knowing her father had been kilIed, but it was more of a fact than a feeling.
   The first time she can recall feeling pain about her father’s death was in fourth grade. A friend asked why Julia and her younger sister had different names.
   Julia explained that her father had died in the war and her mother had remarried and had another child. Her friend apologized.
   "From then on, I got curious," Julia says."I had to find out what was so upsetting."
   It wasn’t until she was 13 that she mustered the courage to ask her mother.
   She didn’t want to make her mother cry. Nor did she want to upset her stepfather.
   Her mother took her downstairs and showed her a box of letters, clothing and photos.
   Julia read every letter. She tried on the clothes. She treasures a couple of photos.
   One shows her dad proudly holding her on his shoulders. The other is of her father in uniform with one hand behind his back.
   "I always wonder what’s behind his -back — a beer or a cigarette," she says.
   That she may never know. But, then, you never know who she might meet this weekend.
   Maybe someone has a photo taken minutes later.
   Julia’s mother drove her to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Friday morning. Julia felt closer to her mom than she had felt in a long time. Her mother gave her $50 to spend.
   Hugs from other sons and daughters of deceased Vietnam servicemen greeted her at her hotel in Arlington, Va. Four people registered were, like Julia, from Minnesota. They made fast friends.
   Julia visited the wall for the first a time later Friday. A storm blew in as she arrived. She wondered aloud if her father threw that in for effect.
   She stopped first at the Frederick Hart sculpture. The three young soldiers gaze at the wall. Julia though they looked as if they were crying.
   She soon was. She looked in a directory of the memorial for her father’s name. William Lorimer IV was listed on panel 13W, line 105.
   Julia knelt down and looked. She touched it.
   She planned to come back, maybe several times, before she left Washington.
   The next time, she’d bring her new friends. She had never met the child of a fallen Vietnam vet before this weekend.
   It’s easy, she says , to meet so whose dad has died of cancer or a traffic accident.
   But not war. And not the Vietnam War.
   Her trouble finding a Father’s Day card proves that.

                                                                    Published in the St. Cloud Times, June 21, 1992.

Note: The quotation was published in the pictorial directory of Charlie Company and was listed as author unkown. Alan Rhodes discovered the source when he was at Arlington Cemetary to bid farewell to another Charlie company pilot who was being laid to rest. It is on the north side of the Confederate National monument. The author went from the ranks of the Confederate Army into the ministry and was the rector of Epiphany Church in Washington, D.C. for 32 years.