John Lawrence Keaton

United States Marine Corps
08 October 1946 - 06 October 1967
Bolivar, Ohio
Panel 27E Line 059


National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Lawrence Keaton

04 Jan 2001

Though I was young when you left our home
Not far from our hearts did you ever roam,
You left behind a loving family who loved you true
To go to war that was so new,
You had friends and foes from another land
But I always remember you holding my hand,
Walking through fields picking up rocks
Never did you see the forth coming knocks,
You left our eyes so strong and brave
But when you returned it was to your grave.

This is a poem that I wrote to an uncle I barely remember. He was strong, brave and a very caring person. There were several things that stood out in my mind about him, but one I would like to share with all to show his admiration for life. When I was young, just a boy (8 years old), my father moved back with his family, which was from Ohio. He had several brothers but Johnny (as I always called him) stood out above all. He would take us hunting and fishing but his true love was hunting arrowheads.

One day when he was home for Christmas time, which was the last time I saw him alive, the whole family got together and celebrated not just Christmas, but him being there, safe and sound. My father, Johnny's brother, was a real bad alcoholic and he always beat us kids, real bad. He never had money because it went for the booze and who knows what else, but one day stands out. He was drunk and driving with all of us in the old 57 Chevy wagon, Johnny sitting in back with us kids, when he started cussing and hitting mom. Johnny told him stop the car. After a bit he did, Johnny ran around, opened the driver's door and continued to drag dad out. He whipped his brother like nothing I have ever seen since, threw him in the back seat, and drove us back to the farm.

When dad came to, he asked what had happened. All us kids being kids told what had happened. Johnny came through the house and told his brother, "If you ever touch any of these kids again, or beat your wife again, there will be nowhere on this green earth that you can hide". Saying this he walked away. His brother shouted, "Yeah and what are you going to do, go to war and kill someone or be killed? Maybe if we are lucky, the Viet Cong will get you before you get back."

Johnny just stood and stared his brother down, not saying a word, but all the savage, blood and sorrow of what he went through, you could see that day, coming from his eyes. Johnny left that weekend and never came back alive. For 32 years I have had a grudge against my father for the alcohol, the beatings and the words he spoke that day to what I considered to be the giant of my adolescent days.

But here I make amends before all, for I know his wish never killed Johnny, nor did his words. I know these words would be ones John would speak if he was here: "I forgive you, brother."

So to any or all who read this page, don't fear to die, for there is one gentle giant waiting with God to welcome you home.

We love you and have never forgotten you, Johnny Keaton.

Please, if anyone was with or around John Lawrence Keaton, if you knew him or have photos, please, please I beg of you - share with us.

John Dowdy

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a nephew,
John Dowdy
Flatwoods Kentucky, 41139
4 Jan 2001

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2005