Memorial Day in Avon is always a solemn and patriotic event, bringing together one and all within the community to remember and salute those who gave all for our country’s freedoms.
Memorial Day 2019 was made especially memorable by the keynote address from Christine Alten, sister of Avon VFW Post 7035 namesake David F. Schneider
Speaking at the invitation of Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen, Christine shared a stirred recap of the times that called for her brother’s sacrifice.
Marines Cpl. David Schneider was just 21 years old when he went to serve with the 9th Regiment, 3rd Division in 1968. He was the first Avon resident killed in the Vietnam War. A memorial is dedicated to him at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7035, which is named for him.
“He was just a 21-year-old kid who went off to war,” said Alten. “He knew he would either be drafted or he would enlist. So he enlisted.
Cpl. Schneider, who had already received a Purple Heart after being wounded in October 1967, lost his life during the Tet Offensive of the following year during a North Vietnamese counterattack.
“At the time, we did not feel patriotism or a lot of pride in what he did. All that came later,” said Alten. “What we felt was sadness.”
Today, however, pride and patriotism is the overriding sentiment in the remembrance of Cpl. Schneider. “I remember when he came home,” recalled Christine. “It was a snowy day. Dave like snow, and there was snow falling on his casket, so it gave us all a feeling of peace.”
Dave’s mother, Martha Schneider, composed an open letter to a local newspaper shortly after her son’s death. “I pray that the supreme sacrifice you made was not in vain — that in some way it will bring world peace a bit closer to reality,” wrote Martha. “Dave, I had to write one more letter to tell you how it is without you. I’ve got to get busy now with my daily routine. No more anxiety about you over there in Vietnam. Just an aching heart.”
It is a feeling that is honored each year throughout America as Memorial Day observances are hosted the last weekend of May. The 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in Viet Nam are among the many thousands more who also gave their lives in so many other wars throughout our nation’s history.
Their stories are all honored on Memorial Day – but none more and none less significantly than the story of Marine Cpl. David Schneider of Avon. May God bless them all….