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thedrifter
05-09-03, 12:38 PM
A day of remembrance
Veterans recall Marine valor

Sgt. Christine C. Odom
Combat Correspondent

Many were gathered to show their support and recognition of the Vietnam veterans in a ceremony held at the Station Aviation Memorial, April 30.

Guest speaker at the ceremony was retired Marine Corps Col. Wayne V. Morris, a Vietnam veteran who feels passionate about the men and women serving in the armed forces.
According to Morris, they are the ones who put themselves in harms way everyday.

The program began with Petty Officer 3rd Class Aretha P. Alexander singing the National Anthem to the sound of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing Band playing.

“I don’t normally like it when the song is sung differently, but I think she did it very tastefully,” said retired Sgt. Maj. “Mac” McGee, veteran.
McGee was one of several veterans who were honored by the recognition ceremony. He felt while this was an unpopular conflict that the United States fought in, people should still acknowledge the sacrifices that were made by the servicemembers.

“We followed orders and fought, and all we wanted was just to be treated with respect,” said McGee.
Morris also spoke on the topic of respect, it was his strong belief that Vietnam veterans were special individuals whose valor was unmatched. They had shown amazing courage and honor without hesitation or question.

However, his attitude changed quickly when he addressed veterans whose valor was questionable. There was a distinct difference between those who were heroes and those who wanted to be known as heroes, and Morris felt it was his duty to distinguish the two.

“The valor of the Marines and Sailors fighting in the war was diminished because of people who want to pretend they’re something they’re not,” said Morris. “Not everyone who goes to war is a hero, but they should at least be honest about their heroics.”

Because of their unrelenting dedication to duty and honor, these Vietnam veterans will always have a day of remembrance that will live in their hearts forever.

No rifles crack, no cannons roar
No jets scream overhead,
The silence now is defeating,
Acclaim to honored dead.

And trails once contested by tired shoes,
And heavy booted feet,
Lead once again to market place,
And quiet village street.

Jungle paths now overgrown,
Terrifying tales could tell,
Of simple, yet so gallant youth,
Who came of age in hell.

Green jungle vine and lotus leaf,
Once splattered bright with red,
Washed clean afresh by monsoon rain,
No trace of fearful dread.

In paddies worked and tilled anew,
Now lush and green with rice,
No sign of those who fought and bled,
And paid the highest price.

Across the pond the foe returns,
To his own native shore,
To face a friendly enemy,
And wage a strange new war.

No hero’s welcome was his lot,
No parades to his acclaim,
Just jeers and sneers was what he got,
His thanks? – bear others’ shame

Ungrateful fellow countrymen,
“Make love, not war” their call,
They turned their backs, took not our stand,
While better men than they did fall.

The widows and the orphans,
Knew naught of all their kin,
Like Grandpa’s son, What was he like?
Save the family tales they’d spin.

They sought no heroes’ accolade,
For the mission they were tasked,
A simple “Thanks” or “Job Well Done”
Was more than most had asked.

An ebon polished granite Wall,
To those who stood the test,
None here to answer this roll call,
For they sleep the warrior’s rest.

We who survived, but shared the cost,
With every setting sun,
Hold high our heads in proud salute,
“Thanks for a job well done.”

In ceremonies tribute,
We pray and hope, perhaps
Their gallant deed will ne’er recede,
With the fading note of Taps.

Sempers,

Roger