by Lisa Tome
Vietnam Veteran Paul Elwood believes in keeping things in perspective.
"Keep your mind where it needs to be," he said.
And later. "What you do is what makes us who you are."
Elwood, 71, a retired Cecil County Public Schools administrator, recently returned from the 50th anniversary gathering for the 55th Company OCS. He was commissioned 22 June 1967 as a U.S. Army Infantry Officer. He served in the Army from 1965-1970 and was in Vietnam from 1968-69.
This was a special year for Elwood. This year to mark the half century since commissioning, they met for a special gathering at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Those who are gone, are not forgotten.
On the stairway at the home that Elwood shares with Linda, his wife of 48 years, Elwood keeps the rubbings from the Vietnam wall of those who didn't make it back from Vietnam. "It's one of the last things I see at night and one of the first things I see every morning," he said.
The names of Kevin G. Flaherty, Michael K. Wonderlich, Floyd H. Robinson, and Benjamin F. Castaneda, which Elwood took from the monument in Washington, D.C. They were people with whom he served who didn't come home from the war.
Elwood said although it's been a half century, he looks at the rubbings every day.
"I have a tendency to judge a man's character by if I would share a foxhole with him. A safe place is a foxhole.
He was with his other members of his OCS class from June 20-26 in Fort Benning, Georgia. Because of the 50th year since commissioning, there were special events to mark the occasion. "Twenty four of us were there. Twelve years ago, we had 36," said Elwood, who took nine members of his family, including his grandchildren, to Fort Benning.
"Every year, we set a table for those who aren't with us. There's a ceremony with us. They're remembered. These are the lives you always think what would they be," added Elwood.