Monday, May 26, 2014

Brent Britten Nauss


Brent Nauss was my Mom's cousin.  He was quite a few years younger than her and she saw him when the distant families got together for reunions.  So even though they weren't close in age or geographically, she remembered him fondly, liked the sound of his name, and was thinking of him when she named me.  All of my sibling's names start with the letter T so instead of Brent, I'm Trent.

Brent Britten Nauss
My Mom had younger sisters, not brothers.  Maybe this added to the impactful impression that younger Brent made on her.  As I grew up she'd mention him sometimes and remind me that in a round-about-way, I was named for him.  I've always gotten the idea that in my Mother's eyes, he was simply a neat boy and that she enjoyed seeing him grow up year-by-year when these distant aunts, uncles, and cousins would reunite annually as a family.

Our list of family lost serving our country during military service is short.  We have one that I remember each Memorial Day and that's Brent.  For decades I've known where he was on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.  18W has never been hard for me to retrieve from my memory and I feel pride finding him, knowing we're related in family and with my name.  BRENT B NAUSS on that long wall always stands out for me.  It's like it's waiting for me when I'm looking for it saying, "Here I am."

Trent is not as common as Brent and sometimes people mishear me when I introduce myself or call me Brent on accident when they try to remember my name.  I always enjoy this mistake.  I like being called Brent because of where my name comes from.  Now I don't much like it when people mess up and call me 'Kent' or 'Troy' or 'Trevor.'  They say everyone's favorite word is their own name.  I get that.  I really like my own name, but I'm pretty fond of the name Brent too, just like my Mom and the little boy who it belonged too.

Thinking of you Brent.  Not just today, but every time someone calls me by your name.  We never met and you're gone, but not forgotten.  Thank you for your service and your ultimate sacrifice.  You were just twenty-one when you were KIA in Quang Ngai.  You had your whole life ahead of you.  You probably dreamed of returning home safely after bravely serving your country.  I hope you're looking down from heaven and smiling.  We're proud of you today, tomorrow, and forever.


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