Norman Walter Heck, Jr

Army of the United States
11 January 1936 - 08 December 1964
Monroe, Michigan
Panel 01E Line 074

MACV ADVISORS Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Norman Walter Heck, Jr

06 Dec 2001

I am his youngest son, who apparently met him once on the day of my
birth after which he left for Vietnam and died 2 months later.

I'd love to hear from anyone who knew him.

A poem follows that is my reaction to September 11th
(I live and work in NYC) and a general call to trying to live as
peacefully as possible, none of the soldiers I've ever
met love war, they simply try to make the best of it.

J. Gavin Heck

Gavin Heck 9/11/01

State of emergency, all smoked out
Evacuation of Manhattan is recommended

1. No one throws stones
An apartment window was open
Concrete, stainless immutable
The birds of peace flew in
Hiding from the day
Ducking the birds of prey
Are the subways working?
The floor was (and remains) shark infested
Jumping from pillow to pillow

2. Be thankful you weren't killed
Can you imagine sharks attacking
Sleepy commuters
Victims with burns and head injuries

3. Get a cleaning lady (person)
Did she make it out?
Even if all others give up

4. If every single person grabs a stone

5. I must feel alone, stone-less, mutable, dis-armed
Feeling, flaming paper coming from the sky
For us, we are all in this together
Going to go snag some food and water
Dove behind my bed (not the bird the action)
I dreamt my house was on fire
Hope she is far away right now
Saw the flames coming out
The top of the building start to fall

6. Seek, create, imagine stone-less Utopia
Took a cab, crying on the bus made me feel strange
I woke up bright eyed and ready to go to work at 8:30
Both towers later collapsed
It is not the way for me
Like watching a sea wave breaking on the shore

7. Water the subliminal hope (daily upon rising)
Just some more folks who hate America
Stay where you are
Keep your head down
Kiss the ground having made it home safe
Home, the home of souls (safe)
Fight the subliminal hype (or don’t be so surprised when those seeds you planted grow into weeds that break through your concrete)
Landing, I seek the pure land
Last night the boss asked me to please come in on time
We could go to a Goth club and listen to our darkness
Dance like robots
Like a tornado
Like the game I played as a kid
Must evacuate

8. Must keep believing
My friend thinks WW3 is starting
Or perhaps just hopelessness

9. Let's embrace hopelessness (then breathe and release it)
Paper covers rock
200 years old but have made so many enemies
She was OK but her building is only 3 blocks away
Since I was old enough to know that my father died for this country
Wished that someone would come and erase it
It will be a nice day other than the terrorism

10. The attachment is absolute (breathe and release it)
The beginning of the end
Life as we know it is over
The building exploded in my face
A big balloon of smoke
News people just advised to leave Manhattan
Then came down for a cigarette and saw the second hit
I fell back asleep...
They are closing everything
The Brooklyn bridge is open, thousands of people are walking it
Walt Whitman would be happy
Thing about terrorism is that really
We are all walking on pillows on the floor
(floor equals water, spaces equal sharks)
We are the sharks and the water and the fear
We don't live in the state where understanding covers action (paper covers rock)
Compassion can also thrive on the rockiest soil (You ok?)

The Monroe County (Michigan) Vietnam Veterans Memorial
is located at Captain Norman (Rusty) W. Heck Park.

You can take
a "virtual tour" of the Memorial
or read
a description of how the Memorial came to be built .

Heck Park Vietnam Veterans Museum

The Museum of Monroe County Vietnam Veterans shall collect, preserve, display, and interpret materials reflecting the role of Monroe County citizens who served within the Armed forces of the United States during the years of engagement, and in the theatre of operations, commonly called the Vietnam War.

The purpose of this effort will be to educate the general public regarding the experiences of Monroe County Veterans of this conflict and to provide a place for contemplation and remembrance.

The museum is supported and operated by the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Historical Society, in cooperation with the County of Monroe and the Monroe County Historical Commission. The museum is located at Heck Park on N. Dixie Hwy, Frenchtown Township.

From the
Monroe County Museum site
Telephone 1-734-240-7250

20 Jun 2004

They Died So That We May Live

(For Norman W. Heck, Jr., fallen comrade-at-arms,
and J. Gavin Heck, his son)

Under the watchful eye of an eagle,
Protected by Huey and Cobra Gunships,
And by the brave spirits of brave men,
The park is not entirely a playground;
Although the spirits there allow play -
Especially of children that many never had -
Especially of children because their own passings
Came not so very long after many of their own childhoods.

The names inscribed remind us of men,
But they also stand for their spirits
Who continue to bless us with their presence;
And that is why this memorial and many others
Are so beautiful and bring a tear to the eye;
And that is proof, that if it had to be,
Each of them would willingly die
For devotion to their country.

Copyright June 20, 2004

From a second cousin,
Ann Reinhardt Cantu

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 08 Dec 1964, four American advisors attached to the 2nd Battalion, 33rd ARVN Regiment, were killed in action:
  • CPT Norman W. Heck, Monroe, MI
  • 1LT James G. Dunton, Melrose, MA
  • SFC Guy T. Freeland, Russellville, AR
  • SP5 William R. Hamlin, Seattle, WA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his youngest son,
James Gavin Heck 
6 Dec 2001

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MI State Index . Panel 01E

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 12/13/2004