Lancaster – For Ohio University Lancaster student Linda Wright, Memorial Day is a day of pride and a day of pain.
"I appreciate everything he did for us," said Wright. "But, I still don't like to think about it."
The Computer Science Technology student lost her older brother when he was serving in Vietnam on February 12, 1968. Corporal Larry Spangler was from Bremen and enlisted in the Marines because he felt it was his duty to serve his country.
"If I think about it too hard, Memorial Day can be a difficult day," said Wright. "But, I always tried to take my Mom out to his grave and plant flowers."
Spangler died at the age of 24, after being shot in the head during a hostile fire situation. He was flown to Saigon for treatment, but died the next day. Spangler was 10 years older than Wright, and she idolized him.
"He was your friend, your big brother and your dad," said Wright. "He was just everything to all of us."
Wright started attending classes at OUL last fall after losing her job. She went back to school to find a new way to make a living. But, while taking classes, she ended up finding people who understood her loss.
"I met Karen Walker Sparks at the OUL Information Office after seeing a story in the paper that she lost her husband in Vietnam," said Wright. "We instantly connected and now she's a good friend."
More than 80 veterans are also enrolled at O.U. Lancaster. Ohio University's regional campuses were founded in the 1940's on the idea of bringing higher education to communities where World War II veterans with families and jobs needed access.
Wright said talking to people who understand war and loss helps when she thinks about her brother.
"We still miss him all of the time," said Wright. "We are proud of him and love him, even today.I know he knows that though."