Remembering fallen soldiers
The names Baker has used, with the permission of their families, may be known to some residents of the Upper Delaware River Valley: Army Specialist 4 Leslie Anthony Burr (Vietnam), who was married to Baker’s own sister; Army Specialist 4 Allan Arlyn Milk (Vietnam); Army Sgt. Andrew Carl Brucher (Vietnam); Army Specialist 4 Richard Alan Wood (Vietnam); Army Specialist 4 Frank Leonardo (Vietnam); Navy Petty Officer Second Class Charles Ernest Koberlein (Vietnam); and Marine Cpl. Pete Baker (WWII), who was Baker’s uncle. Photographs of all of these are found at the end of the book.
“When you look at their photographs,” Baker said, “you will see real men whom we should remember each and every day for the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States of America. They each carried a pride that ran to their very core. From all accounts of family and friends these fine, spirited gentlemen were the elite of humanity. It was all because of them and their priceless gift to all of us that keeps them in our hearts, minds, and prayers.”
Baker’s book ends with a message that is appropriate to consider this Veteran’s Day:
“Today’s warriors come back to us in many ways. Some are carried home, some come home with prosthetic limbs, and some arrive with the hidden injury of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Regardless, they have all served honorably and without regard to their own well-being, but with the intention of protecting their families and this nation. We owe each and every one of them an incredible debt of gratitude for their sacrifices now and forever.”
[Commander Dennis Baker (retired) served 28 years in the U.S. Navy including six years at sea on aircraft carriers, and over 10 years as an educational administrator. He is the author of “The Cowgirl,” a memoir and tribute to his mother, who still lives in Cochecton where his nephew Douglas Diehl runs a Christmas tree farm. He is a poet, a volunteer for non-profits, and he loves spending time with his grandson, Dennis II.]