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Paul Oelkrug CA,
Coordinator for Special Collections
Eulogy For Air America and CAT Employees
Memorial and Archive Dedication Ceremony, May 30th, 1987, McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas
It was with some hesitation that I accepted the task of delivering the eulogy for 241 people because many of them were not known to me personally. Their death or disappearance had occurred over a period of three decades and they represented six different cultural backgrounds. In addition, another decade has slipped by since the door closed on the events which bring us together here today. In such circumstances, I wondered how should one begin.
There is a common thread which connects each name on the honor roll being dedicated. At the time each person died or was declared missing in action they were employed by an aviation complex best known collectively as "Air America" or CAT. That common thread has continued and connects the past to the present. Many past employees here today are members of the Air America Club, which initiated this memorial effort, the CAT Association or both. With the assistance of the McDermott Library and the University of Texas we members of the two organizations, along with the families, friends and relatives of these being honored are ensuring that this common thread shall serve as a connection to the future.
We have undertaken to do this so that none of those who died or disappeared shall be forgotten. That not one of them, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, shall go "unwept, unhonored and unsung." The cause of freedom for which they gave so much shall be continued in their names.
"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven." The time to honor those who died or disappeared is now, today at this dedication ceremony.
To be well thought of after death is perhaps the highest form of praise. To ensure the success of this eulogy, I ask each of you to participate in a minute of silence to remember and honor in your own way the dead or missing whom you knew.
Thank you very much!