Our Mission:

My first husband, Capt. Jerry Zimmer, was an F4B Phantom jet pilot, whose aircraft was shot down on August 29, 1969, approximately 20 miles South of Da Nang, Vietnam, after six months in country. Neither Jerry nor his navigator, 1st Lt. Al Graf, was able to eject, before the aircraft crashed into the Que Son Mountains. Initially Jerry and Al were classified as Killed in Action/No Body Recovered (KIA/NBR). Years later, both Marines were listed as MIA, along with other service members whose bodies were never recovered.

Jerry has been gone nearly a half century, and hope for recovering his remains had run out a long time ago.  However, in recent years our family became involved with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), now merged with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), and learned that Jerry’s and Al’s remains might, in fact, be recoverable, so we are doing everything possible to support their efforts to make this happen and bring our guys home where they belong.

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Brown University Celebrates Veterans Day

Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 10:11 AM  posted by Elaine Zimmer Davis

Chaney Harrison ’11, staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, was one of the speakers at Thursday’s Veterans Day ceremony. Photo by Freddy Lu / Herald

BROWN DAILY HERALD
Margaret Yi
Staff Writer
Published: Friday, November 12, 2010

U.S. Senators and Brown Community Honor Vets in Annual Ceremony

Veterans, political figures and members of the Brown and Rhode Island communities gathered on Lincoln Field yesterday under the bright noon sun to honor those who served and are currently serving in the armed forces.

This annual Veterans Day ceremony, organized by the Student Veterans Society and sponsored by the Offices of Campus Life and the Dean of the College, featured speeches and appearances by students, administrators and guests, including U.S. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I. and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
The ceremony began at 12:30 p.m., with the Providence College Patriot Battalion Honor Guard leading participants from the flagpole on the Main Green down to Lincoln Field, near Soldier’s Arch.

Provost David Kertzer ’69 P’95 P’98 began the ceremony by the thanking the speakers, the guests present and all those who died in service. He then introduced the Chaplain of the University, Reverend Janet Cooper Nelson, who led all those present in a prayer, in which she thanked all those who “gave their lives and hearts” in service of their “beloved nation.”

“Help us to be grateful for each life given in loyalty to the very best purposes of our nation,” she prayed.
After the prayer, Chaney Harrison ’11, president of the Student Veterans Society and a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, gave a speech in which he highlighted the rich history of military service at Brown. It was a history that he was “both humbled and honored to be a part of,” he said.

Harrison also discussed the “current perception of Brown among the military,” which he described as being “just a little bit on the radical side of liberal.” According to Harrison, this view “suffers from the negligible number of veterans who have been accepted onto campus after their time in uniform.” It is also a result of the military “having little to no access to the Brunonian mindset and culture since 1972, when the last ROTC program left campus.”

He concluded by thanking the veterans and soldiers who continue serving.
“Their sacrifice creates a debt that America can never fully repay,” he said.

The next speaker was Elaine Zimmer Davis, a journalist and writer who continues to search for her first husband’s remains after his plane was shot down in Vietnam in 1969. In her speech, she thanked the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and a former Vietcong guerilla for assisting her greatly in her efforts to recover Captain Jerry Zimmer’s remains. She said she hopes that better technological improvements will help her reach her goal.
After a brief introduction by Kertzer, Reed took the stage. Reed, who was also a speaker at last year’s ceremony and an army veteran himself, also emphasized the need to honor those that have voluntarily sacrificed for this country.
“Their service sustains us and inspires us,” he said.

In addition, he called for the need not only to pay respect, but also to provide veterans with the resources, namely education, to serve their communities after leaving the armed forces. He also pointed out two important lessons to gather from Zimmer’s speech. “People may perish, but love does not die, and … over time, enemies can become allies in the pursuit of a noble and common goal,” he said.

Whitehouse gave the last speech, in which he called for everyone to “reflect on the blessings of this nation” on Veterans Day, and recognize the sacrifice that those in the armed forces have made to bring liberty and freedom for civilians.

Then, the ceremony concluded with the laying of wreaths on the Lincoln Field war memorial as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”

David Salsone ‘12.5, vice president of the Student Veteran’s Society and a Navy veteran, said that Zimmer’s speech added a more modern, contemporary touch to the ceremony. He echoed Harrison’s thoughts that the University should “extend a hand to veterans” and admit more of them. Overall, he said he was very proud of the ceremony, as it was completely organized by the Student Veteran’s Society, which has only four members.

“It’s student led… it’s genuine, and it honors Brown’s veterans very appropriately. It’s one of my favorite events of the year,” said Matthew McKinley, a soldier who served in the army for 18 years, and who brought his family to the ceremony. One of his favorite moments was Zimmer’s speech, which he described as “very moving and very real.”

“I think it’s a wonderful tribute to veterans,” Reed said after the ceremony. He said that he was especially inspired by Zimmer, who has moved on from the death of her first husband but has not forgotten about their time together.

“It’s encouraging… to see some patriotism here,” said Kelley Cox ’10, adding that it was incredible to see two senators at the University on Veterans Day.
“I think every year, the students do a more beautiful job,” said Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron. “It’s interesting to see how memorial events like this really bring a community together.”
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