The freedoms that we all enjoy and the power and respect that this country has held in the eyes of most of the world did not come from a president or congress. It came from the blood shed by the men and women who willingly stepped forward to pick up arms against tyranny and aggression to win those rights and freedoms. Their sacrifice and blood are represented in the red stripes of our country’s flag. In my eyes, this makes Old Glory a memorial to those who fought for freedom.
As an American veteran, I want to take the time to show my respect and thankfulness toward all my fellow veterans both living and deceased. No one who has never taken the oath and donned the uniform of a branch of military service can truly understand what drives an individual to be willing to put themselves in harms way. Our veterans are a unique group of individuals and are deserving of our honor and respect.
It is an emotional thing to watch the outpouring of honor and respect shown toward our veterans today, but sadly this has not always been the case.
The veterans of my era, Vietnam, received no respect or honor upon their return. They came home to be spat upon and called vicious hateful names, because they chose to willingly serve their country. The names of those who gave their all are engraved on a polished black granite wall in Washington D.C.
There is no unknown soldier from Vietnam buried in the Tomb of the Unknown. The body of the unknown soldier from Vietnam was removed from the Tomb after modern science made it possible to identify him by his d.n.a.
I’m sure it is obvious, that today I want to salute all our military veterans, but most of all I want to salute those who served in that unpopular conflict called Vietnam and to honor the memory of the 58,200 who never returned.
From one veteran to another, thank you all for your service.
The veterans in my family:
Ronnie Boyett, myself, Air Force (Vietnam Era)/Army; Vilinda Boyett, my wife, Army; Jaime Ferguson, daughter, Air Force; Shaun Ferguson, son-in-law, Air Force (Active); Grover Boyett, father, Army; Joseph Owens, father-in-law, Air Force, Carl Boyett, brother, Marines/Army Reserve; Terrie Boyett, brother, Army Reserve; Rick Yarbrough, brother-in-law, Army; Vernon Owens, brother-in-law, Air Force; Dwayne Owens, brother-in-law, Navy (Retired); Willie Boyett, uncle, Army; Donald Boyett, uncle, Army; Walter Anderson, uncle, Air Force; Lloyd “Mutt” Anderson, uncle, Navy