Abstract

This is our common memorial tribute to Norman E. Lane Jr., brother, cousin, friend, athlete, scholar, teacher, and Marine, who fell before the bull on Friday, March 29, 1968, while serving with Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, at Cam Lo Artillery Base, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam. The name of Norman E. Lane Jr., unlike those of John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr., does not appear in significant biographies or other scholarly resources in The Humanities. It does appear, with 58,271 other names, engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This Project, being undertaken 46 years after Norman Lane's death in Vietnam, draws on the recollections of his extended family and friends, his Vanderbilt undergraduate and Law School classmates, and the students from his English and French classes at Haywood High School (HHS) in Brownsville, Tennessee, over the one, all-too-short academic year 1965-1966. The Project includes the oral histories of Marine Corps veterans — some of whom knew Norman at Vanderbilt as both law students and as officers of the Marine Corps Reserve — some of whom were classmates and even platoon mates of Norman's at Quantico — and several of whom served with him in Vietnam, in either H&S or Kilo Co.'s, 3/4 Marines, just south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) over 1967-1968. The project is fueled by the vivid memory of an early spring Saturday in 1968 — my third cousin and best friend Richard Carlton and I had just turned 16 in the week or two before — when my family and I, and many many others, were stunned by the news of Norman Lane's death. The elements of this Project have been with me since that day. Now, with the benefit of 46 years of history, reflection, and preparation — we tell the story of the life, promise, and tragic death of the "brilliant student" from West Vancouver High (Vancouver, British Columbia) — while retaining some of the innocence in perspective of that 16-year old.