Remembering Kenneth Finkel
I knew Kenneth Finkel in high school, was a friend and classmate and really enjoyed his intellect, humor, talent, energy and distinctive personality. Your article (part of your series on Vietnam veterans) brought back some great memories.
He was a unique individual and an important part of our class of '61 at Dalton High School. I can still vividly remember his outstanding performance in our high school production of "Oklahoma!" He was so full of energy, talent, personality and stage presence! He, his co-stars and the other performers were terrific together and the play was a real hit!
We saw each other at school on a regular basis and occasionally did things together after school. One time we went on a double date to go swimming in Holly Creek, which would have been a unique experience for me, even without complications. Unfortunately, his date cut her leg on the rocks resulting in a trip to Hamilton Medical's emergency room. When we finally got our dates back home late that night, we received a real "dressing down" by my "blind" date's father, embarrassingly for me, an old friend of my parents. Of course, Kenneth kept his cool through it all.
The last time I saw Kenneth was in '66 at a restaurant in North Atlanta. I had graduated from Georgia Tech, gotten married and was scheduled to go on active duty in April of '67. I was glad to see him and we joked around and enjoyed each other's company before parting.
Your article indicated that he died in Quang Tri Province. Quang Tri was just north of Hue, which was only about 50 miles from the DMZ (demilitarized zone). Qui Nhon, about 270 miles north of Saigon and 215 miles south of Hue, where I spent most of my six months in 'Nam, was no picnic, but Hue was really hot. I flew in and out of Hue on an insane 24-hour trip from Qui Nhon to Saigon, and that was enough for me! I can only imagine his last days in 'Nam.
Kenneth put his life on the line for our country. I'm honored to have known him and will always have fond memories of the extraordinary times we had back at Dalton High School.
Formerly of Dalton