"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES" - A DEAR FRIEND
DIES AND THE END SUDDENLY COMES IN SIGHT
GEORGE ESPER, BELOVED ASSOCIATED PRESS
WAR CORRESPONDENT IN VIETNAM, SLIPS AWAY
IN HIS SLEEP - MOST GENEROUS AND RESPECTED
NEWSMAN IN SAIGON PRESS CORPS - REST IN
PEACE - YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
© 2012 MilitaryCorruption.com
Within an hour of hearing of his dear friend's death, MAJ Glenn MacDonald, USAR (Ret), our esteemed colleague and longtime editor-in-chief here at MilitaryCorruption.com, dictated the words written below from his sickbed in Maine. A 100% disabled (combat-related) former Army combat correspondent and later, civilian newsman in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, MacDonald has suffered declining health in recent weeks and faces his own mortality.
George Esper, 79, was a special friend, the kind made under fire in wartime, experiencing shared danger.
Mac was a 20 year-old NCO when he first met the Associated Press correspondent. Esper and Ann Mariano (first editor of Overseas Weekly in Saigon) had a profound effect on our editor, as well as his journalistic hero, Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Peter Arnett.
"We knew George hadn't been well for some time, but I'd hoped he could take me up on my invitation to come visit me at my retirement home on the lake in Maine," MacDonald said. "Now, that will never be."
In a departure from our usual stories, we reproduce here below, a personal message sent via e-mail by Mac to the dwindling band of his fellow war correspondents whom also loved and will miss their dear colleague George Esper, just departed.
By GLENN MacDONALD
It's an especially hard blow to lose George.
He was the kindest and most gentle person I knew in the Saigon Press Corps - a dear friend for more than 40 years - a man of great honor and integrity.
At the various war correspondent reunions we attended, or talking on the phone over the years, I'd always remind him: "George, you know you're the most beloved correspondent of them all."
He'd always laugh it off, but I know he was touched by my words.
I remember the night in 1995 when I was still on the job, a UPI correspondent in tuxedo, slipping out of the ballroom at intervals to phone in news copy and do radio spots.
When George was called to the podium to share some of his stories of Vietnam, everyone gave him a standing ovation. Cheers rang out in the room as evidence of our love and great respect for this wonderful man.
I'd like to think last night, when George peacefully passed on in his sleep, the angels cheered as he made his way to his heavenly home, where they say there is no more pain and suffering, and every tear is wiped away.
See you soon, old friend. Thanks for everything.
37 North Clary Road