Our Son. Our Hero. ET1 Ronald J. Hemenway.
Our son, ET1 Ronald J. Hemenway was born 7-25-1964 in Cordova, Alaska. (Ronald was born one year after we lost our son, Dale. Dale died on July 29, 1963) We lived in
Alaska for over 20 years. When Ronald was school age we moved to
Wasilla, Alaska. Ronald graduated from Wasilla High School in 1982 and
Sarah (Heath) Palin was in the same class! (at that time no one knew
she would later be picked to run as Vice-President) He then attended
University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska where he studied Chemistry and
We moved to Kansas when Ronald was 22. He went on to school at Meridith
Manor Equestrian School in West Virginia to learn breeding of horses and
riding skills. He returned to Kansas and by that time had acquired two
horses. He went to Montana to train with Monty Foreman. He also
went to the Oklahoma School for horse shoeing.
At 30 years old Ronald left me a note telling me he was going to find a
job with a career. That night he returned home for supper and told us
he had joined the Navy. At first we didn't think he was serious. (His
dad had served in the Air Force and other family members had been in the
Army.) The more he talked, we started to believe him. He left on his
brother's birthday, November 29th, 1994. After basic training he went
to Electronics School in Chicago. He was Distinguished Military
Graduate and had his choice of assignments. He chose the USS La Salle
in Gaeta, Italy. He left for Italy on his other brother's birthday, May
28, 1966. I teased him and told him he would meet and Italian girl and
get married. He did! He married at 33 years old. In 2000 there became
an opening at the Pentagon, Ronald told us he was going to put in for
the opening. He told me "I probably won't get it, but if I do I will be
closer to Kansas and home every night with my son." Ronald was a "Hands
on Dad." He did get the assignment and in March of 2000 they moved to
Bolling Air Force Base in DC area.
I feel so fortunate to have memories of when we spent two weeks in Italy
with him and also we went to DC in June 2000. Ronald was so proud of
the Pentagon. He gave us a tour and showed his father the Air Force
area of the Pentagon. His dad had also been in electronics in the Air
Force. After, Ronald joined the Navy, he and his dad would "Talk
Shop." They developed a relationship they had never had-it was
something that gave them a bond. They had been on the phone the
evening of 9-10-01 and talked past midnight. Ronald's wife would ask
"How can you talk so long to your dad?".
Then 9-11 happened. Ronald worked for the Chief of Naval Operations.
There were never any remains found. I can still hear Ronald asking me
after the '93 attack on the twin towers. "Why aren't we doing
something?" Then again when the embassies were bombed and when the
marine barracks were hit and when the USS Cole got hit. My only
response was "I don't know Ronald, I guess not enough people have gotten
killed." Now we do have a president who Ronald would be proud of
because he chose to do something. We may not agree with everything he
has done; and he has made mistakes. If doing nothing means no
mistakes, then I am glad he went on the side of doing something and
making mistakes because we have not suffered the loss I/we suffered on
9-11 again in seven years.
Thank you for letting me share some of my memories of my sons. All I
can say is "It is out of order to have your child die before you do."
They should be attending your funeral.
God bless you for all you do. God bless our troops and President Bush
for defending our country and keeping us safe during these seven years!
Proud Mother of ET1 Ronald J. Hemen