Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The History of a Name

In honor of the birth of Adam Luther Spears and Benjamin Oliver Spears, author Rosanne E. Lortz's husband David Spears has written a guest post explaining the importance of names and the reasons behind the twins' given names.

Names are important. I know this because my name is important. It's not a famous name or a wealthy name. It is not attached to any great invention, and you won't find it listed on any Trivial Pursuit card. My name is important because I was named after my grandfather.

I never knew my grandfather; he died July 24, 1966, in Pleiku, South Vietnam. I missed being born on this date in 1980 by twelve days. I became his namesake. It has influenced my life in incalculable ways--his name was important, my name is important.

I joined the Army in September, 2000 under the legacy and history of my name. A year before 9/11, I joined when it was unpopular and old-fashioned to sign your life away. I was no September baby, as we called the wave of incoming privates. I did it because I wanted to be a soldier; I did it because my grandfather had done it.

I always signed my name with the Roman numeral two. This was partly in fear that the Army's giant paperwork bureaucracy would somehow mix me up with my grandfather and I would not be issued boots or those wonderful brown BVDs. More importantly, I had a high bar with which to measure the conduct of my professional career. I could not be one of the guys under discipline for drinking or fighting without having tarnished the name. I could not dishonor the sacrifice my grandfather made. This higher standard worked in my favor and allowed me to rise quickly in my career. I was chosen for two sniper schools while in the service. This in turn opened the door for me to work with some of the greatest men I have ever known. I became Recon. It was an indirect gift my grandfather gave me, a name that was worth something, a name I could not let down.

In 2004 I went to war with the same patch my grand-father wore in Vietnam. We both served with the Tropic Lightning (or Electric Grapefruit, depending on your view) on our shoulders. In the course of the year I had to make a call home one night on the Colonel's SAT-phone. I had to tell my father, who lost his father "officially" to a mortar round, that I had also been hit by a mortar round. I assured him my wounds were minor; but the truth was, a few seconds slower or a few degrees of angle more, and I would have been the second of my name to die in a foreign war in a city hard for most Americans to pronounce. My father almost lost his son as well as his father, but by the grace of God I did come home.

This November 5, by the same grace, I was granted the privilege of naming my firstborn twin boys. Earlier, whenever I had thought of having a son, I agonized over the responsibility of what name to give him. When I learned that we were having twins, I knew their names right away. I had been given a great gift; there was symmetry. I could name my sons after the two platoon mates, my brothers-in-arms, my two friends, who did not come home from Iraq.

Names are important. My sons' names are the most important. They are named after two of the greatest men you will never know. They are named after men of honor and sacrifice. My boys will have the duty to live a life that is worthy of such sacrifice. They can never replace the men they were named for, but they can live up to them. They must live a life both men gave up so that new life can follow destruction and loss. One day when they are older I will explain all this to them. I will tell them that names are important. I will tell them they are named after: Adam Plumondore KIA 16 Feb 2005, Mosul Iraq, and Benjamin "Rat" Morton KIA 22 May 2005, Mosul Iraq.

David Paul Spears II

Adam Plumondore & Benjamin "Rat" Morton

Adam Luther Spears & Benjamin Oliver Spears



  1. Well, okay then, thanks for making me cry! Nicely written, nicely said. Praise God for giving you a future and a hope and the opportunity to give honor where honor is due. I remember often how close you came to not being here for this moment and am thankful for the sacrifice of others who don't have the moments we are enjoying this week. Happy Veteran's Day - I thank God for you, your wonderful wife and perfect little men.

  2. A powerfully written piece and a fitting and moving gesture. Congratulations on your sons. God bless. - Bourque

  3. What a wonderful ,thought sensetive way to show love honor and respect for those we love and will always remember in our hearts. God bless you and your precious family

  4. Thank you for the good words, David.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. What a lovely way to honor your two friends.

  6. I had two brothers in the first Gulf War, Col. James Vosler, USA. and 1st SGT Richard Vosler, USA. Jim returned in the second conflict and retired to civilian life, only to go back to help rebuild the country. I'm retired USCG and will always remember this story, because I work with the twin's grandpa. Welcome home vet! God bless you and your family.

    SS1 William H. Vosler, USCG, Ret.

  7. Thank you for sharing this!
    We are thankful for His care and many blessings on you all!


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