Larry Drew HarveyCorporal
3RD BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
13 September 1944 - 03 October 1965
Oklahoma City, OK
Panel 02E Line 104
The database page for Larry Drew Harvey
My story is not a particularly significant one ...
but one of simple solitude, personal pain, and real regrets. My father was not a great war hero. He did not save a particular life nor did anyone save his ... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
In 1964 a young marine named Larry Harvey married his sweetheart, Dianna Hunter. In 1965 he received orders to go to Vietnam. He was only in-country for 3 months when his unit was ambushed in a province of Vietnam called Quang Nam. Most of his unit died that day.
Larry left behind a young, frightened widow who little more than 36 hours later gave birth to a baby girl, Linda Marie (me). We were very fortunate. My mother was from a small town in Oklahoma which rallied around her with love and support and my father received a hero's welcome and an honored burial.
But things were, at best, difficult. When I was almost three years old my mother remarried and shortly afterward we moved 500 miles away to south Texas where my step-father was from. He then legally adopted me which changed my last name from Harvey to Snyder. I was much too young to realize the significance this would have in my life. I always knew the truth growing up. I knew that Tom was not my biological father and the events surrounding my birth. But my dad was insecure about these things and the only time we could discuss it was when my mother and I were alone in the house.
Nothing was ever hidden from me and I was never told not to ask questions but my mother's hush-hush approach to sharing information made it difficult for me to want to ask questions. I almost felt like I would get in trouble or be met with disapproval. So being inquisitive was not cultivated in me and I failed to ask all the things I was longing to know: what he was like, what he was interested in, what were his dreams, interests, and hobbies.
Instead I bottled it all up inside and by the time I became a teenager I had a great deal of anger and resentment built up in my heart. I was angry with God for taking him from me, I was angry with my mother for letting him go and then for trying to replace him, I was angry at my dad for trying to be the one to replace him and I was angry with everyone in general for expecting me to not let it effect me. As most teenagers do I was doing a lot of searching in attempt to find out who I was but the only problem was that the person who played a large part in making me who I was was not there to tell me about himself.
I wasted so much time playing the "If only" game. If only my father hadn't died. If only my mother hadn't remarried. If only she had married someone else. If only ... That whole thing was counterproductive. So rather than bury myself in a deeper hole I decided what I needed to do to survive was to start over. God helped me wipe my slate clean and stop living in the past. But there was still a hole in my life with lots of unanswered questions.
Then in 1990 a loved one sent me a clipping from a newspaper article. There was Wendy Ruffin and Tony Cordero talking about a relatively new group called Sons and Daughters in Touch. They had also lost their fathers in Vietnam and were forming this organization to help connect all those "kids" in hopes that they could help each other. I cannot tell you how relieved and excited I was to hear about it! I immediately joined SDIT and signed up on the In Touch network.
The first SDIT gathering was scheduled for Father's Day 1992 in Washington D.C. at The Wall and I was determined nothing would stop me from being there. It was a most amazing experience! I had no idea there were so many others in my position. The strangest thing was, and I feel almost guilty about it, is that even here my self-pity was hard to shake. I went from feeling like no one could understand me to one of many who had nothing special to share. Who wanted to hear my story? Nobody, everybody had one of their own. I soon learned that every person and every story is special.
And my visit to The Wall ... there are no words to describe it. I did not break down and cry as I expected, in fact we were in town all week and visited The Wall at least once a day, sometimes more, and I did not cry for my father until the last day when I went to say goodbye. For the first time I had written him a letter and I left it there at the base of his panel, 2E line 104.
If I had my way I would take every child in this country by the hand and lead them to The Wall and tell them about it and what it means and then tell them to go home and hug their parents and tell them how much they love them and how glad they are that they are in their lives and not to take them for granted.
After the SDIT gathering things began to really happen for me in my search for answers. Through the In Touch program I found not one but two people who serves with my father. One of which I correspond with and has been a great source of encouragement and inspiration. I was really enjoying my contacts with SDIT but I still wanted more. The Wall had come to mean so much to me that I wished somehow I could be more involved. I came in contact with a V.V.O. group through a wonderful lady I work with whose husband is a Vietnam veteran. She invited me to one of their functions and they welcomed me with open arms. They have basically adopted me.
It was through them that I heard The Wall That Heals was coming to my area in March of 1998. I began searching for the people involved in making this happen. By the grace of God I found them and was able to work at The Wall the entire time it was in the area and even got to participate in the closing ceremonies. It was the most healing time of my life. And it never ceases to amaze me that these veterans groups who didn't even know me have embraced me with open arms and taken me in as one of their own. I have found a great big family and it is wonderful!
I have come to terms with who I am, and am very proud of my father. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sons and Daughters for getting it all started for me.
Linda Harvey Murphy
I would **LOVE** to hear from other people,
Linda is a member of Sons and Daughters In Touch
A memorial initiated by his daughter,|
08 Jan 1999
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)