LETTER: A salute to all veterans
Please forgive me as I do have a lot of things on my mind during the Memorial Holiday. This is a very hard time for me and I'm sure maybe members of your family as well might have similar feelings. As I think some of you might know I spent my late teen’s years in Vietnam. I arrived at a place called Cam Ranh Bay. The Vietnamese called it Vinh Cam Ranh which was a deep water bay in Vietnam in the province of Khanh Hoa. I was only 19 at that time. My unit was involved in five different campaigns against the Vietcong. My unit received four meritorious unit commendations which is awarded to a command which displays exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds or valorous actions against the Vietcong. During my years I flew off the aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin which was just off the coast of Hanoi North Vietnam on a cod and arrived in Da Nang and flew out to Clark Air base and back and fought several times. During that time we rotated out of the country for R&R.I traveled to Hong Kong, Japan , Singapore and Philippines where many of your parents or grandfathers where during the second war; I also had one weeks leave to come home and marry Susan the love of my life we were married on the 13th of February and one week later returned overseas where we didn't see each other for two years when I rang the doorbell on the 13th of February two years later, The flowers I sent her from Subic Bay arrive on the afternoon of the 13th.
When the Vietnam wall came to Shelton I was ask to co-chair the event with Mike Kellett. I look on the wall for the years 1969 -1973 those years I was in Vietnam and the Gulf and located the names of those who are still on patrol. That was a hard time for me as well but I was honoring them at the same time. Twice I visited Washington the first time I would only view the wall from a distance. The second visit I did go to the wall and paid my respects to those from Shelton who were killed or missing in action and those I severed with.
Memorial Day week is very sober for me. I will start this weekend placing flags on all the graves of those who served our country with my fellow members of American Legion Post 16. During next week doing the same at Riverside and my wives' cemetery. I also attend the memorial services the night before Memorial Day to pay respect to those who died in the past year who did serve their country. Memorial Day services at the White Hills Fire Company, Shelton Police and veterans Park downtown Shelton prior to the start of the parade and a final service at American Legion Post 16 The public is more then welcome to attend all the services. .It’s my way to thank those who have served our country and those who are still on patrol.
I would hope that everyone will not look on this a day for parades and picnics but also a day to thank a Veteran for their service. That veteran could be your grandparents, parents, relatives, neighbors or just a complete Stranger. Take the time to thank them for their service.