Dog tags returned to family 40 years later

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KATY, TX – We’ve seen how Vietnam has been depicted on the big screen, but the true meaning of that war could be felt in a small museum in Katy, Texas.

Cindy Burke, widow of Capt. Walter Burke, says, “It brings back a lot of memories. It’s opened old wounds.”

Cindy Burke has been looking for some sort of closure since her husband was shot down over Laos in an EC-47 on February 5, 1969.

Stephen Brady, piloted EC-47s in Vietnam, says,  “Knowing that you’re leaving your fellow servicemen overseas and not knowing what happened to them after they got shot down, emotions are just tremendous. You want to have closure.”

After more than 40 years, Burke’s family may have finally received just that after having the dog tags of Captain Walter Burke were returned to the family in a small, intimate ceremony.

Lauren Branch, Burke’s daughter, says, “The thing we never got was closure, and I think this is the start of that maybe.”

Her brother Scott Burke adds, “It’s just the start of an ending for sure.”

Cindy says, “My grandchildren will never know their grandfather… the super individual he was.”

Lauren adds “I don’t even think we’ve really had the opportunity to process the information or what this means.”

Congressman Pete Olson was on hand to thank the family for the ultimate sacrifice that was paid in the name of freedom. Olson even showed his dog tags and knows how important they are.

Fellow soldiers who served in Vietnam were also on hand and some broke down overwhelmed with emotion.

Brady says, “I know exactly what the family members are going through having flown those missions over Vietnam and being shot at and everything related to it.”

Lauren says, “I think I’m going to have to take some time to think and spend some time with this and figure out how to move forward.”

And we salute you moving forward, while never forgetting the past.



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