Introduction and Bio

Janie Garvey is a teacher and lives in Philadelphia. She is also an Associate Member Liason of VVA Chapter #266 and an Associate Member of the VHCMA.

With Steve Robbins and Ray Argabright, Janie worked on material for "The Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial" in the "Vietnam Veterans Memorials" Gallery of the "Remembrance" section of this Site.

Says Janie, "I became involved with Vietnam Veterans because my boyfriend, Wayne T. Dillman, with the 9th Infantry 3/5, was KIA 2/08/68; and My Brother Michael Dougherty, 213th ASH, was a casualty of Vietnam."

You can E-mail Janie at:

Memories of TET from a Philly Girl

By Janie Garvey

This morning, I went to Mass and then to the Philadelphia Vietnam Vets Memorial. As I was standing there watching the flag fly above the Memorial, my mind drifted back in time.

I was a freshman in high school when I first met Wayne. We seemed to get along from the very beginning. We dated each other all through high school. I went to his proms; he went to mine. We were very young but so much in love.

Wayne graduated high school in '65 and I in '66. I also remember that in my senior year, some of my girlfriends had boyfriends in Vietnam. Seemed like all the guys were there.

I remember when my brother, Michael, enlisted in the Army. RA! That's all we heard! Then, he was off to the Airborne School. Geez! Was he gung ho Army! My Dad, who was deceased, was also in the Army during WWII.

We always listened to the news at night about our boys in Nam. Little by little, more guys that I grew up with were going there. Finally, Michael told us he was going! A very short time later, Wayne was drafted. You know US, the two guys had a thing going about that. Michael would torment Wayne, and I'd say I'd rather be RA than US any day.

Michael left for Nam in '66 and was gone for almost a year. About that same time Wayne got his orders. He asked me to marry him when he came home. I said yes.

Now, both my guys were in Nam. I wrote every day and sent packages. I still remember how excited I would get when a letter would come and even more excited when a package came. My life at the time was watching the news, writing letters, and sending Kool Aid. (They both complained about the water over there.)

Mom and I baked cookies and sent them. We prayed for all our soldiers over there to come home safe. The first one home was Michael. His tour was done, no more Vietman! Yeah!

We decorated the street for him with "Welcome Home" banners and the whole nine yards. We met him at the airport with "Welcome Home" signs! Geez, it was great! Michael was home, and Wayne would be next.

We kept asking Michael where he would be going next, but somehow Mom and I never got an answer. We asked questions about Nam, and we didn't get answers to those either. Michael had changed; maybe it was that he had grown up into a man, and I didn't see it.

Finally he told us. His next assignment was Nam! Nam!!!! Oh, no! He was going back? Why? I never understood that.

Finally the time was approaching, and the love of my live would be home! I can still see his envelopes counting how many days left. I remember Wayne's Dad saying, "Let me get you out of going to Nam; you are my son and my only child."

Wayne wanted no part of it. I missed him so much.

One night I went to the movies with the girls. When I came home, my mom was waiting for me. I knew something was wrong. She said, "Sit down, Janie, I have to tell you something."

I said, "Oh, God! Who was hurt? Michael?"

She started to cry and said, "No, honey. It was Wayne."

I asked, "How bad, Mom?"

She said he was killed.

NO! NO! I screamed. Mom took me in her arms and cried with me. I said WHY? WHY? I wanted to be in Vietnam. I wanted to kill those people. Mom said Mrs. Dillman had called, and she was notified tonight.

I ran as fast as I could to Wayne's house. I kept saying maybe it was a mistake. But when I got there, I knew it was not a mistake.

I came home that night after spending several hours with Wayne's parents. I reread all the letters Wayne had sent me until I cried myself to sleep. TET. That was the name of it!

Next day, we got a letter from Michael.

"Janie, I just met up with Wayne over here. I reminded him no wedding until I get home. Ha! Ha! He's a short timer now, Janie. Won't be long."

Michael didn't even know at that time that Wayne was KIA.

Today, it is 30 years later. TET. Yeah, I remember TET!

I cried myself to sleep last night remembering TET!

Copyright © 1998, by Janie Garvey, All Rights Reserved