James Edward BurkePrivate First Class
D CO, 1ST BN, 5TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
08 May 1951 - 14 February 1970
Panel 13W Line 007
The database page for James Edward Burke
I am in the process of writing a book about the Middletown, Ohio, men who died during the Vietnam War. I am hoping that my memorial pages will produce some information from people who might have served with these men.
I knew James when he, his brother and father lived in Louisville, Ky. I was originally friends with his younger brother, because he and I were about the same age. However, Jim went to the same school I attended, so we saw each other just about every day. I would also see him when I went over to their house. I remember how badly I felt when I learned that Mrs. Burke had passed away before they moved here. But the boys and their dad seemed really close, and that was good.
Just as he was graduating from Seneca High School in the spring of 1969, I asked him what he was going to do. "Join the Marines!" he said, with a smile. I laughed and said "Well, take care of yourself, man!" or something to that effect. By that time I was not hanging out with his brother much, and I was not even aware the family had moved to Ohio.
I can't begin to tell you how badly it hit me when I learned he had been killed. My father was a WW2 veteran of the Pacific war, whose brother and uncle had been killed, as well as some of his friends. He was the one that handed me the article from the paper, and he tried to break it to me easily, but there is no easy way to do such a thing. The angst of this terrible and (at least for me) unexpected loss stayed with me a long time. Years later, when my wife and daughter visited the Vietnam Memorial, I, of course, believed that all the raw emotions were long gone. But when I found his name on the Wall, I found myself being emotionally transported back through the years; it was like the crack of a door opening, but instead of light escaping, it was that depression and pain. My wife and daughter stood for a moment with me, but not knowing anything was going on with me, moved on down the line, to read the other names on the Wall. It was another ten minutes or so before I could join them.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this with anyone who might be interested.
Kevin M. Sullivan
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
Middletown Ohio 45044
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 27 Jun 2004
Last updated 06/10/2008