Dear Dick,

You were my first born. With your laughing eyes and mischievous grin, you stole my heart. I remember you as a little boy... the forts you built, the adventures you took, the "rescued" critters you brought home... and the friends that surrounded you. I'll never forget, when you were twelve years old, you stood so proudly beside me as they played taps for your Dad, and gave us his flag. My darling son, you were the brave one -- you tried so hard to be a father to your younger brothers and sisters. But you grew up so fast. As soon as you were out of high school, you signed up for the Special Forces... and you were so happy when they accepted you. How proud you looked when you came home on leave wearing your Green Beret. Captured forever in my mind, is the image of your final hug, as you raced for the plane that would take you to Vietnam.

You didn't say too much in your letters -- but I knew you were in danger, because you always used to tell me "what you don't know, won't hurt you." I found out later... on June 6, 1968, you were on a team with some South Vietnamese soldiers, and your group went out to help another team that was pinned down under fire.

You were hit several times before you died. You were only 19 years old. There are no words to describe how I felt. I was so empty... but I had to put up a front for your brothers and sisters. Little Kevin was only seven. He kept saying it wasn't fair -- he's already given up his Daddy. I pretended to be brave. But inside, the empty space just grew larger. It's been a long time my son. I still miss you. I will always miss you.  

Sometimes I look at your friends that you went to school with, and I wonder what you would be like now; what my grandchildren would have been like. But you will never come back. You're gone forever.

They gave you a Silver Star. Now they call me a Gold Star Mother. I spend a lot of time with the other Gold Star Mother's. Every Monday night, a group of us go to the homeless shelter for Vietnam Vets. I know if it was you in that position, I would want someone to do the same for you. I guess that's what moms do. A lot of the guys have family problems. When they came home from Vietnam, they just couldn't talk about it; and they alienated themselves from their parents.

We try to give them support... talk to them like a mother would talk to a son. One of them even came over and asked me if I could sew some buttons on for him. I did, but I also asked him, "Have you called your Mom, have you called your Dad?" They think their family doesn't want to hear from them. But when they do call; then go visit, the healing can begin. We also go to the Vietnam Memorial whenever we can. We can tell when one of the vets is having a hard time. Even now, so many of them feel guilty because they came home, and our son didn't. We give them a hug, and tell them it's not their fault; we're glad they're home.

Dick, I'm sure wherever you are up there, you approve of what I'm doing. You were such a people person: always trying to help someone. Besides, when I go to the Wall, it's almost like you're there with me. Each time I run my fingers over your name on that cold, granite wall, I can feel the warmth of your laughter as if you are saying, "It's okay, Mom. I'm here."

I know I will never hold you in my arms again. But I will forever hold you close to my heart because you will always be my first born... my shining star.


Written by American Gold Star Mother, Theresa Davis , in memory of her son. Her Letter was read at the 1998 Memorial Day concert on the lawn of the U. S. Capitol Building in Washington, D. C. Theresa is a Past President of the National American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

American Gold Star Mother
Theresa O. Davis
Past National President,
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.


SP4 Richard S. Davis, USA
Special Forces - Green Beret

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SP4 - E4 - Army - Regular
Special Forces

Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Nov 17, 1967
Casualty was on Jun 6, 1968
Body was recovered

Panel 60W - Line 27


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