The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

March 29, 2014

A special welcome: Local Vietnam veterans honored at Friday ceremony

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PALESTINE —

Taylor gave credit to Vietnam veterans for taking the high road even though they were treated badly upon their return and being supportive of future generations of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You weren't welcomed home as heroes should have been,” Taylor said. “...But you handled it with dignity and class and I salute you.”

PPD Chief Robert Herbert and PFD Chief Alan Wilcher also thanked the Vietnam veterans.

“Thank you for your dedication and what you have done for us,” Herbert said.

Wilcher added, “I can't fathom all the sacrifices you made for us. We are extremely proud to support you. Every day should be Veterans Day.”

Phillip Smith, regional director to U.S. Senator Jeb Hensarling's office, also spoke during the ceremony. Smith was with Hensarling last week when the congressman presented military awards and medals to two Palestine veterans during a ceremony at the Palestine Mall — World War II veteran Archie Thomas and Vietnam War veteran Jerry Howard.

“Thank you for the sacrifices that were made and to the families,” Smith said, noting Hensarling's office was proud to honor veterans who have protected and fought for our country. “Let's take this day to remember, but everyday remember to thank them for our freedoms.”

Past DAV Chapter 63 Commander Gordon Brett led the ceremony. He also is past commander for DAV District 3 (which includes 37 counties and 15 chapters).

“We have a lot of heartfelt admiration for these fellows,” Brett said, referring to the Vietnam veterans during the ceremony.

Incoming VVA Chapter 991 Commander Steve Severn, who also serves as the commander of the VVA Chapter 991 Honor Guard, presented a U.S. flag to Ayo for his leadership to the local VVA organization.

“Alan (Ayo) has worked very hard in the past six years as commander of the VVA Chapter 991, not only in the chapter but working out in the community, calling on people to help and doing what needed to be done,” Severn said. “I want to thank you for your leadership. When I started in the VVA we had 38 members and now we have grown to 168 members, plus a very active honor guard and nursing home visits.”

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