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Larry S. Semeniuk
May 14, 1949 – January 17, 1968
|Windsor native, Private First Class Larry Semeniuk wanted to be a soldier. He was an adventurous, restless and proud young man in search of a greater purpose in life. He joined the Essex Scottish Student Militia as soon as he was of age and always spoke of the possibilities the U.S. Army had to offer. In 1967, he convinced his parents to let him join the U.S. Army which began his brief, valiant career. Forty-five days after his voluntary entry into Vietnam as a paratrooper Larry’s life was taken by hostile fire. Fatally wounded, Larry continued to fight until the his last breath was stolen by Guerrilla troops. Larry was only eighteen years old. His bravery was recognized and awarded with the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, as well as being made corporal after his death. He was a Canadian hero among American soldiers, who saved the life of a lieutenant just prior to losing his own. While countless American men had flocked to Canada to avoid the draft, Larry had made the reverse trip to serve overseas and offer his life in the name of peace. His desire to defend the right to live with dignity and freedom took his life too earlier, but reminds us of the sacrifices ordinary men make to serve all of mankind.
Dear Linda… Jan. 13, 1968
“My name is Tom Powell. I am a friend of Larry’s…” “…Larry is in the hospital… a package came from you today and I’ve got it. I’m going to take it to him and see how he is…” “…We’ve been out in the field for a couple of weeks and the second day we were there Larry and two other P.F.C.s went to a river…” “… while they were at the river the leutenant fell in…” “…so Larry dived in with another guy … Larry got the leutenant and tried swimming ashore with him… they ended up about 300 feet down the river before they got to the bank. “…Larry had swallowed a lot of water and was pretty sick… later he got a pretty bad fever and had the chills… I heard he had Typhoid Fever… I hope it isn’t too bad…”
(A letter written to Larry’s girlfriend 4 days before he was killed)