A Life Cut Short is a Story Never Told

    When Sue Markus, currently Sue Johnson of Florissant, fell in love with her high school sweetheart, Jim Donnelly, she could little imagine how the call of duty would impact her life. At the tender age of 18, she was excitedly, but apprehensively, planning her wedding to Jim. He was currently serving in Vietnam. After high school, Sue’s artistic young fiancé had taken a job as a technical illustrator with Laclede Gas. But he was soon drafted and his responsible, selfless character quickly lifted him to the rank of staff sergeant. At barely twenty years of age, Jim found himself leading a platoon of young men in combat.

    "I remember the day he left for Vietnam," Sue recalled. "It was horrible. I sensed he was not coming back. I couldn’t stop crying." With hope mustered up, Sue continued making plans for their wedding and Jim wrote her often during his months overseas. Sue soberly related, "I was at work when I was informed that my parents had come to take me home. In the car they told me Jim’s grief-stricken parents had called them. Jim had been killed in combat." With misty eyes Sue recounted, "Once at home I sat at the kitchen table, took off my engagement ring, and just stared and cried."

    Jim Donnelly’s abbreviated life, his marriage to Sue that was never to be, the smiling children they were never to have together, is one of countless life stories that would never be told, all because of the call of duty.