Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Need to Remember

I have written before about my church orchestra. We are somewhat musically challenged, but given enough “lead time”, we usually can pull off some pretty good music for special occasions. Well, our music minister Tom has recognized our need for an extra measure of time, and he passed out the new Christmas musical last night, August 19. That is an all-time record for “lead time.” The musical is a fun, heart-warming story with familiar carols and a few new tunes that are really nice. Then it hit me!

Near the end of the new Christmas musical, there is an old familiar tune “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I remembered the first time I sang that song. It was the Spring concert at Heavener High in 1968.

The week before the concert was a special one for me. I had tried-out for cheerleader and made the Junior High squad for the coming year, and Donna Sonaggera had invited me to spend the night at her house to celebrate us being on the cheer squad together. Spending the night was a huge deal because for some reason our Mothers never did want us to have sleepovers. (I think it was because each Mother dreaded when it was HER turn to host the sleepover!)

Donna and I had a lot in common growing up. We both came to our families somewhat later than our parents had expected to have more children. (It just dawned on me - they may have been worn out from Judy and Bobbie’s sleepovers!) I remember Donna and I talking about going to college that night because we had Freddie, Bobbie, and Judy who had already gone off to college. There was no thought about whether we would go to college, just where we would go! We got out Bobbie’s old Heavener Yearbooks and dreamed about days to come.

I don’t remember for sure if it was late at night or early the next morning. I don’t remember who answered the door. I only remember that Bro. Sullivan, our pastor at FBC, was standing in the living room, and if memory serves me correctly, he was dressed in his Army uniform. I don’t even remember exactly what news he brought, only that I held no hope for Freddie to come home from Vietnam. I remember empty hugs as I slipped out telling Mrs. Sonaggera that I needed to go tell my Mom and Dad about Freddie. I wonder now if it was really so dark when I walked up the hill with such a heavy heart, or if my memory has painted those moments with darkness.

At the concert that next week the High School Chorus had already prepared the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” They invited everyone in the audience to join hands and sing with them in honor of 2LT Freddie L. Sonaggera, killed in Vietnam April 17, 1968.

I couldn’t find sleep very easily last night, so I googled Freddie Sonaggera, and I found a page where several people, including Butch Gilstrap, had posted a few memories:,110&Wall_Id_No=48876

When I first showed my husband Harry the War Memorial at the Heavener Library, he was astounded at the number of men Heavener has lost in wars. We need to remember. I’m glad Tom brought out the Christmas musical in August this year!


At August 21, 2009 at 9:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Freddie, from Heavener as well as Tahlequah. I used to go to the "billards" hall to watch him shoot snooker when we were both at Northeastern State. Nice tribute to him, Kathy. And, once again, nice memories of good times in Heavener.

At August 21, 2009 at 5:39 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

I remember Freddie as well. He was a couple of years behind me. I also remember his Father.
We must never, never forget those who have given their lives so that we can be free!!!


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