Ruben Rubio was killed in Vietnam on July 6, 1971. He was 21 years old. His sister, Jane Garcia, still lives in Clovis. She called the newspaper a few weeks ago to make sure Ruben’s name would appear among Curry County’s Memorial Day list of war heroes.
That list is on Page 1 of today’s paper.
The names should be on public display every day somewhere in Clovis.
Curry County has a prominent war memorial — six stone tablets outside Clovis/Carver Public Library “Dedicated to Curry County veterans who served their country.”
But those tablets — two are blank — don’t bring war home. The names of Curry County residents who never came home from Korea or from Vietnam or from the Pacific Theater would help make war personal. They would help us remember that freedom isn’t free, that people die in its defense — and sometimes they are people from our home town.
Several area communities honor their war heroes by name with public displays.
In Farwell, four stone monuments pay tribute to 34 veterans who lost their lives in defense of our nation. Kenneth Bainum, Harold R. Crook and Ralph B. Miller Jr. were Parmer County residents killed in Korea.
A United States flag flies in the trees above the memorial, which is also accented by the words of Winston Churchill:
“Not in vain may be the pride of those who survived and the epitaph of those who fell.”
In Portales, about 100 names appear on the Wall of Honor in that city’s Memorial Building. They are the names of Roosevelt County residents who died during war in Korea and Vietnam and during World War II.
Kim Huffman, a veteran and executive director of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce, works at the Memorial Building.
“People come by here and read (the names on the wall) and look at it, and some of the old folks knew them and the young folks know their families,” he said. “It’s a small community and it’s nice to have the names, it really is.”
Curry County should have something similar.
About 130 county residents have lost their lives during wartime. They are scheduled to be honored by name at this morning’s Memorial Day Observance at Mission Garden of Memories, 2900 W. Seventh St. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
That’s a start. Now we need to post those names in a public place in a tribute reflective of the sacrifice they made for us.
A lot of work must be done to make it happen. We need to pick a design for the public memorial. We need to find a public place to put it. We need to figure out how to pay for it — without tax dollars.
With Cannon Air Force Base next door and thousands of veterans in our community, we have a wealth of volunteers who can make this happen.
Our challenge to those volunteers is this: Give Curry County a war memorial complete with names in time for Memorial Day 2004.
Posting Ruben Rubio’s name in a place of honor is not just a nice gesture for his family … it’s to help us all remember that war is personal.