Thriller Writer Tj O'Connor

Memorial Day Thoughts

May 27, 2024

While I’m tempted to say “Happy Memorial Day,” it is sort of a misnomer. Isn’t it?

Memorial Day is NOT a celebration of our veterans—that’s Veteran’s Day. Memorial Day is just that—the remembrance of those lost to us—military men and women—serving this country. Not so coincidentally, I’ve been thinking a great deal about two of my heroes—Oscar Boucher, my maternal grandfather, and Wally Fetterolf, my mentor of 23 years.

Oscar was a WWII regular army veteran of the Pacific theater. He served in many capacities, but perhaps the most intriguing was as an aid to a young officer who was surely military intelligence. He didn’t know it at the time, but his stories and my research strongly support that. Oscar died when I was a punk teenager who irritated him no end. He was responsible for saving my family—and especially me—from a brutal father and shitty life. I hope he knows, and knew, he was truly my first hero.

Then Wally—WWII OSS operative in Northern Africa and Italy. He later became a Deputy Director of the CIA and later, still, my boss, mentor, book critic, and dearest friend for some 23 years. What I owe him is unexplainable. It suffices to say that when he passed in 2015, it was an enormous loss to the world and me. Not coincidentally, Wally was a character in several of my novels—under different names like Doc Gilley, Trick McCall, and Oscar LaRue. Naming him Oscar was a tribute to my grandfather.

Both Oscar and Wally remind me of a quote I provided for Wally’s service:

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who dies. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.

—General George S. Patton

Thank you all for your service.

You are all missed and revered—especially Oscar and Wally.


I first fell in love with writing while in grade school and over the years continued to dabble with characters and stories whenever life allowed. Lately, I've focused my energy on pursuing this dream—interrupted only by life as a security consultant and the demands of two Labrador retrievers.

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