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Season 2 Episode 43 Special Memorial Day Tribute to Vietnam Era Veterans

Unknown Speaker 0:00
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, I won't be able to take part in any of the festivities because I'll be driving to the Miami VA for some things I'm doing down there. But I wanted to launch this special episode my father served during the Vietnam era. He was in Thailand with the Air Force, his brother served during that era. I don't know anything about his history, but he was I know, other than

Unknown Speaker 0:27
he was in the Navy. My

Unknown Speaker 0:29
stepfather served from Korea through Desert Storm, including being on the ground in Vietnam. I know that he lived to be 81 he died in early 2013. But he suffered a great deal for many many years because of things that he was things he encountered chemicals and such nevermind the whole the traumatic thing I mean, he was I know that he suffered with PTSD and things like that but he never talked about it and and you know, he that was just something he kind of kept to himself this recording

Unknown Speaker 1:10

Unknown Speaker 1:12
and if you've listened to any of my recordings in the past and you know anything about what I do you know that I get very emotional about this subject. I love so much these men and women and everything that I do and so this My apologies up front because when I the thing I'm about to read you was sent to me via email yesterday from

Unknown Speaker 1:30
my master guns, nine Marine,

Unknown Speaker 1:32
he was my master guns when I was in school for the Marine Corps in Denver's Defense Information school. Anyway, he sent this in, you know, out and hit to his email list yesterday and it statistics from Vietnam. And I was at the beach place I love most in the world. And I couldn't read this without choking up so again, I don't anticipate it being much better. So this is just some history about the Vietnam Memorial wall says a little history most people will never know. Veterans statistics of the Vietnam Memorial wall. There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alpha baptized, it is hard to believe it is 63 years since the first casualty. The first known casualty was Richard be fits given of North Weymouth, Massachusetts listed by the Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8 1956. His name is listed on the wall with that of his son Marine Corps Lance Corporal Richard B fits given the third who was killed on sep tember 719 65 there are three sets of fathers and sons on the wall. Of all the names listed 39,996 were 22 years old or younger. 8283 were 19 years old. The largest age group 33,103 were 18 years old. 12 soldiers were 17 years old. Five soldiers were 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old. 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 1448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam. There are 31 sets of brothers on the wall. 31 sets of parents lost two of their sons 54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. eight women who nursed the wounded are on the wall. 244 soldiers were recipients of the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. 153 of them are listed on the wall built Ville, Ohio with a population of 475. Last six of her sons, West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There were 711 West Virginians on the wall. There are I'm sorry, there are 711 West Virginians on the wall. The Marines emergency Arizona, they lead some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of emergency population 5058 had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed rowing beer bust. In quieter moments they rode horses along the Coronado trail stock to deer in the Apache National Forest and in the patriotic camaraderie typical of marine sees mining families the nine graduate it of morons the high enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day 1966 only three returned home the buddies of Meadville, Utah, Leroy to FOIA, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzalez, were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in mid Vail, Utah, on fifth, sixth and seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart, they played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field, and they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967. All three would be killed. Little boy was killed on Wednesday, November 22. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day, Tom was killed assaulting the enemy on December 7 1967. The most deaths for a single day was on January 31 1968, when 245 service members were killed. The most deaths for a single month was May 1968, were 2415. Service members died. To those who survived the war. And to the families of those who did not. We see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are haunted with these numbers because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble lawyers.

Unknown Speaker 6:34
Again, my apologies.

Unknown Speaker 6:37
I have said repeatedly I have both the best and worst job in the world. I love so much the connections, the men and women that I've dragged out of social media and sometimes kicking and screaming, I think, but they have turned into the most amazing friends and support system that I could not imagine being without now. And so this is for them. This is for those that have come before us those that are still serving, those will serve after us. Heroes are a special breed. They just are there's just something different about them. I'm just so very thankful for everything that they do. And for having been a part of that, for being accepted into that community as active. And now through Hero Harbor. What I'm getting at is we it's so easy for us to say thank you for your service at ball games, we stand and put our hand over our chest and you know, hand over our heart and say pledge allegiance to the flag when we sing the national anthem, or I've said more than once on these podcasts that despite coming from a pretty heavily fortified military family. I never really had this huge sense of patriotism. I mean, we didn't talk talk about you know, we didn't talk about their service. We I knew I knew about it, but it wasn't, you know, just one this big deal. And I have said that. I think for most of us, it wasn't that the military gave us discipline. Because if you succeeded in the military, then you were that kind of person anyway, the military gives us direction, especially because so many of us go in, you know, really, really young and have no clue what our you know, what we plan to do. It teaches you a lot about yourself and what you're capable of, and maybe instills a little confidence that you might not have had before. But I think the biggest thing it gives us is a sense of patriotism, a real I mean, when I drive down the road, I recently drove from Orlando, Florida to Waco, Texas. And along my drive there a number of very large American flags, and I can no longer see those without just getting a little misty and

Unknown Speaker 9:07

Unknown Speaker 9:08
I get misty easily part of it is because I'm always tired. But it's because I care so much. The other thing that like I said that patriotism along with it comes to just that the real understanding and that's this is what Memorial Day is about the real true understanding of what we mean when we say freedom isn't free, because it's not. It's, it's paid for by the blood of our men and women in foreign countries. The other thing that master guns sent to me yesterday was a definition of three different holidays, one of them is armed forces. And it says Armed Forces Day is for those who are in uniform, Veterans Day is for those who used to wear the uniform. And Memorial Day is for those who never got to take the uniform off. So one last thing just popped into my head, I wasn't aware of this, this tradition or protocol, anyway, whatever you want to call it, but I was going into the VA in Gainesville, sometime back and for something for my dad and I got off the elevator and there was a they were rolling away a gurney you know, and it had had a body on it and it was draped with a flag. And it was just it caught me off guard. And it was it was just really surprising. And I get well again caught off guard I'm not surprised that they do it. But it's just if you don't have a hero in your life, if you have never talked to anyone about you know a veteran about you know some of these things and it's easy to hear the stories you know, it's the watch TV so it becomes you know, it's just another thing it's almost like not even real but when you talk to these men and women when you hear the things that they went through and then when you see those statistics it it brings it home, it makes it real and it helps you understand just a little better the struggle and the pain and the then the thing is these these people there so often very proud and then they often won't talk about it again that's why the mission of Hero Harbor is is so and many other organizations is so important because we need to we need to get to these people and help them a large part of what's so important about Hero Harbor is not just what we are doing and want to do and have planned directly but really more importantly is how we are working to to bring all of these organizations together because there's so many organizations and individuals out there who understand the pain and who wants to help but everybody is struggling you know in their own way and so on you know as businesses as individuals and so you know the one of the big missions for for HH is to be the be the platform for to get all of these people together and get them all seen in one place. Rather than constantly struggling with you know all the different social mediums and that you know, because we can do more good if we work together please as you go out there and celebrate today remember what you're celebrating please you know take a moment just to remember these these men and women that we lost and continue to lose and will lose in the future and the ones that even now that you know walk around having done their service but now you're carrying the scars from that you know mental, mental, mental, physical, all of those things just just keep these people in your hearts today today and tomorrow this this will launch tomorrow your ability to

Unknown Speaker 12:51
to celebrate to to do all

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the things you do here in America are in large part

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because of

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the sacrifice of these these folks and I for 1am incredibly thankful Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend

Unknown Speaker 13:06
and be safe.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai