Published 9:30 pm Monday, November 12, 2012
Veterans of the Vietnam War were particularly honored during the Veterans Day service at Veterans Memorial Park in Washington on Sunday.
This year is considered the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the USA’s formal involvement in that war, according to organizers of Sunday’s observance.
Keynote speaker Surry Everett, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, delivered a speech titled “I Want to Remember.” Everett’s grandfather served in World War I and his father was at Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World War II.
“I want to remember. I want to remember all those who served and all those who gave their all. From the Revolution to the preset day, our military veterans, both men and women, have made this country what it is. It’s free. We can voice our opinions. We can disagree with each other, and yet we still are Americans,” Everett said. “I want to remember this day started out Nov. 11 at 11 o’clock, 1911, as Armistice Day, the end to the war to end all wars. What folly.”
Everett paid homage to his grandfather’s fellow soldiers in Battery B, including at least one fellow Washingtonian, who suffered from the effects of mustard gas. Everett noted that his grandfather was lucky because he was not gassed. He also paid homage to those who died on Dec. 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“I want to remember Vietnam. I want to remember the dominoes that did not fall,” Everett said. “I want all of you to remember to question things.”
Everett also recognized those members of the U. S. military who fought or are fighting in other wars and “police actions” around the world.
“I want to remember all veterans who served their nation, whether they wanted to go or didn’t want to go. They went,” he said.
Beaufort County veterans of the Vietnam War were honored by the setting up of a temporary Walk of Honor at Veterans Memorial Park. Members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 15 marked off the Walk of Honor by placing small, American flags in the ground, creating a pathway for the Vietnam veterans to tread.
Betsey Lee Hodges, president of the auxiliary unit, said the Walk of Honor was a way to honor Beaufort County Vietnam War veterans who returned from war without a ticker-tape parade to welcome them home, to protests over that war and “who never got their due.”