Vietnam Veterans Day Ceremony

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley honors Vietnam veterans during a ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Oahu Hawaii, March 29, 2022.


mm hmm, mm hmm. Yeah. At this time navy chaplain Michael Williams will present the invocation. I invite you to join me in a word of prayer. Almighty God, we thank you for your steadfast love and for your infinite mercy and grace upon us each day for you are the reason we live and breathe and have purpose. God we call upon your presence here today as we honor the men and women who served so faithfully during the Vietnam war and specifically God as we focus our thoughts on the souls lost and for those who survived with memories from such warfare. God I ask that you would comfort our Vietnam veterans and their families. May your spirit strongly encourage them to hold their heads high in a healthy pride knowing that they have made a significant and positive impact for our nation. Lord thank you for the service to our country. Thank you for their family members who also served on the home front. Lord, we ask for your blessing on this ceremony. Bless each speaker bless those who have made preparations and bless all those participating and attending. And now Lord we ask that you would be with our forces and their families around the globe and protect and guide us all to follow your lead and to do what is right in your sight. It is in your holy name then I pray and folks if you agree with this prayer, please say Amen. Thank you chaplain Williams. Commander of the colors. Please retire the colors. Right hm. Yeah. Mhm. You may be seated. How about that. Wasn’t that an awesome presentation. How about applause for the G. R. T. C. Today, you know, standing here looking at those young high school students, it uh reminds me how fast time goes by. They are our future leaders. The President of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Chapter 858 in Hawaii is retired army Captain Wrona Adams who served two tours in Vietnam as a nurse with the 44th Medical Brigade and assigned to the third Field Hospital in Saigon and the eighth Field Hospital in the train. She truly has been the engine behind today’s ceremony. Please give her a warm welcome. President Rhona. Mhm. Yeah. Should I start over? Can you hear me now? All right, wait, are you going to fix it? That’s why she’s are present. Okay, wait a minute. All right. Can’t I just come over there? Yes. Road. Anything for you? Mr. Thank you. Okay, we’ll start over. Alright. Hello and good morning, my fellow Vietnam Veterans, friends, family and guests. It is my honor to welcome each of you to Chapter 8 58 Hawaii’s Vietnam Veterans of America organizations commemoration of our special recognition as Vietnam War Veterans Day. Our master of ceremonies. Today is Allan Ho a Vietnam combat Medic. A gold star Father who prefers simply to be called the patriot. We hope today’s program will be a memorable one for each of you. I have something special to say about Alan? I’M sure there’s some other ones of you that are either Navy, um Korman or army medics. And I have to tell you that I am so proud to know some of them. Because if it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t have saved the guys that we saved. So, thank you, Alan. All right, thank you, Rhona. Um part of that was not scripted. All right, 2022 marks the 57th anniversary of the start of Vietnam War. On March eight, The Ground War in Vietnam began with 3500 United States Marines deployed with the American. With America’s public support By Christmas. Nearly 200,000 soldiers, marines and sailors were in country At the war’s end. On April 30, 1975, nearly three million Americans had been on the ground in the air and on the rivers of Vietnam. More than 58,000 of America’s finest young men and women lost their lives and over 1600 still remain missing in action. We take special pride in this opportunity to thank and honor the veterans of the Vietnam war, especially our POWs for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States of America. And to thank and honor the families of these veterans, will, all the Vietnam War veterans in attendance today. Please stand and be recognized. Mhm. Mhm, mm hmm. Mhm, awesome. At least we can still stand. Yeah. I am sure it is safe to say that 50 plus years ago. Few of us would have believed we would be here today whatever the circumstances, we never lost faith. But there were those times when it seemed like in an impossible dream, we survived. And today we are here to proudly claim our title as a Vietnam war veteran. We made promises to each other that we would always stay in touch back in the world. Yet fate and the reality of war Cruelly reminds us of its two basic rules. Rule one. Combat kills Rule two, you cannot change rule one. Far too many of our buddies were denied the honor to become a veteran and that is sad, but a very real fact of life. 300 plus of Hawaii’s families were denied a fulfilling life after Vietnam as veterans. This revered and sacred ground of pool with our National memorial of the pacific punch bowl was the sorrowful end of a long journey for many of them as they brought their loved one home. I remember one of those sad journeys in 1966 when I attended with the family of a close childhood friend. I had no clue of what was about to happen to me the following year though, many years have passed. Those of us who are lucky to survive, have never wavered in our promise to never forget the families whose loved ones. Final resting place is here in palm wine. I can promise you have never forgotten as well. Thus today we will pause to honor some of the fallen by recognizing the surviving members of a few of our following personal heroes. Staff Sergeant Howard, and will his family members just stand and be recognized? Thank you. We welcome his son Mike, his daughter JoJo, his brother Allen and nephew Stuart. Howard was a career N. C. O. Who served as a heavy weapons team leader in the first platoon, bravo company, second of the 14th Infantry, the Golden Dragons of the 25th Infantry Division. You know, I grew up with his brothers and sisters and July 7th 1966. His tragic loss on the jungle trail in Guangdong Province, Coochie sent a shockwave of reality in our community. I knew little of Vietnam then let alone the war. Yet within a within a year it became a part of my reality of life. He was one of my personal heroes as a teenager. Specialist Anthony bongo, will his family please stand to be recognized? Okay, thank you today, we welcome his sister Isabelle and her husband, Sonny Miller, Anthony or Tony was a well liked individual and a soldier serving with Alpha Company, Second Battalion, five oh sixth Infantry 101st Airborne Division famously recalled as the screaming eagles. A friend and fellow soldier who attended Honolulu community college with Tony studying architectural drafting, shared how they joined the 100th Battalion for 42nd Infantry reserves together and shared the experience of basic training as well. Both were sent to Vietnam but were assigned to different battalions following the Battle of Hamburger Hill in op via his buddy learned of Tony’s heroics when he learned of a helicopter landing zone called L. Z bongo which was named after Hawaii soldier. Perhaps his sister will remember the following letter she wrote. You’re the best big brother. A girl could have a good person, thoughtful, caring, funny and also cool. Until we meet again your little sister. Next we have Leonard Castillo will his family’s please stand to be recognized. Okay. Mhm. Mhm, mm hmm. Thank you. We welcome his sister charlotte. His brother Leo and nephew. Transcend and niece Danielle. Leonard served in Charlie company, Third Battalion, one 87th Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division In the northern sector of South Vietnam Watchin province. The 1 87th Infantry was known as the rock assassins who also fought in the battle of Hamburger Hill. And at the end of the Vietnam war, they were the most highly decorated airborne battalion. A note left in memory of Leo was pinned by his cousin Ronnie Reynolds. So very proud and honored to call you cousin. I cherish all the small kid. Time spent together so very much. Thank you for blessing our lives. Next we have Staff Sergeant Melvin Fujita. Will his family stand to be recognized. Okay mm hmm. Today we welcome his sister Gail. Melvin served in Delta Company 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry American Infantry division in the northern sector of South Vietnam known as I Corps. He served with an infantry regiment which was assigned to one of the most hotly contested areas during the Vietnam war. Next we have Staff Sergeant Edward Level. Will his family stand to be recognized? Thank you. We welcome his niece Sharon, Love O’Bryant. His nephew, Mark. I would add that I am a cousin to Sergeant Eddie Lovell. He was named after my grandfather in World War One and World War Two Senior N. C. O. He is remembered as a great big guy in the second of the 12th Cavalry of the First Cavalry Division. While he was recuperating in a field hospital. He would visit all the wards, seeking other soldiers from his squadron, checking on how he could make their lives more comfortable. A friend of his Tony Jack to tick share the following. We shared thoughts On the upcoming 1965 Christmas season and then Eddie headed back to the field. He was killed a few days later during insertion into a hot LZ. Next we have Lance corporal Ben Mallaby. Will his brother please stand to be recognized Now this is Sonny Miller, mm hmm. Okay, who is also here representing his brother in law. We welcome sonny who was here for his brother in law, Tony bongo. Thank you. Benjamin served with F company, second Battalion, first Marines, First Marine Division in Quang Nam Province II Corps. South Vietnam. You know a sad reality of war is that accidents occur referred to as friendly fire while on a nighttime ambush patrol, something went horribly wrong and his team came under friendly fire and he suffered wounds which he later succumbed to from those injuries. Next we have the family of john regal, but they please stand to be recognized. Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah, we welcome it. You may be seated. Thank you. We welcome his daughter jerry to go villa, her daughter, Jeanette rage and his grandson, john range. His daughter Jocelyn Candia son in law, Lindsay Candia and great grandson Care john served in B troop, First Squadron, ninth Cavalry, First cab Division in Binh Dinh Province And while on a combat air assault during operation Davy Crockett, the helicopter he was riding in was hit by a heavy ground fire, killing the aircraft commander and wounding the pilot as a result of the crash, there was a loss of five of the six members on board. And the next we have is Staff Sergeant Ernest Sakai. His family, please rise. Thank you. We welcome his aunt Chico tonight. His uncle William Sawaki, his aunt, Loretta Swaqa Sawaki, cousins, Kelvin, Dina Aaron and Joanne, you know Ernie Sakai was born in Javi on the Big island. He was a career infantry and CEO Ernie was assigned to Alpha Company, Second Battalion First Infantry 1 96 like infantry brigade. I too was a part of the 2nd Battalion, first infantry assigned to the long range recon platoon in combat. You quickly come to hear about all the other Hawaii guys in the same unit. We actually knew each other. Before meeting, our first meeting occurred on a jungle trail when my team linked up with his rifle company. Hey, you must be Sergeant Sakai, How’s it? Perhaps no more than a dozen or half a dozen times. Did we ever link up within a three month period? Yet? Today it seems like I have known him all my life. Perhaps he was an incredible soldier and selected by his company commander to be the company for a sergeant. He was well liked by the man, highly regarded and highly skilled infantry warrior. Ernie wasn’t very tall yet. He carried the Remington 12 gauge shotgun which was almost as long as he was tall. In July of 1968. While on patrol, one of his men tripped a booby trap, the grenade wired to a tree. He did not immediately explode and Ernie immediately took charge and secured his soldier, making sure he would not move and trigger the grenade After the soldier was safe, Ernie proceeded to disarm the device, but unfortunately it ultimately exploded and mortally wounded Ernie. It was a very sad day for all of us who served in combat with him. All of us here humbly, say Mahalo Nui to each of you and to your families for the service of your loved one who stepped forward when our nation called them all those many years ago. We encourage you to celebrate their lives and to remember that we, who knew them however briefly will never forget them. We pledge to say their names and thus they will live in our memories forever Now. It is my honor to welcome one of Hawaii’s very special Vietnam War veterans. In 1966. He began a story military service career as a rifle platoon leader With Bravo Company, 1st of the 14th Infantry, the Golden Dragons of the 25th Division. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome General David Bramblett, Us army retired. Mhm. Thank you Ellen for the memories that you brought back of the great men We lost Governor Ikea, Mary bland Grt, General Milley, fellow Vietnam War Veterans, distinguished guests. All of you welcome. I’m delighted to see everyone here as a Vietnam War veteran. I actually deployed with the 25th in 1965 57 years ago. Seems uh almost hard to believe as as you can imagine, I deeply appreciate the honor to speak today as a veteran, especially today when the nation set aside today to remember the veterans of that particular war. The theme allen and the chaplain others have mentioned about growing old, particularly when we see the ROTC cadets. We have grown old. We Vietnam veterans. A good friend, Colonel bob Takao since he’s been mentioned, Who brought the puna O. J. R. T. C. Cadets here today sent me an email reminder and I’m going to quote from the email Quote, all of these cadets were born after 2004 and most of their parents were not born until after the Vietnam war ended bob as if I needed that. But that got me thinking and I realized when I was their age, the age of RJ ROTC cadets in high school and I was where they were they are today I would have been listening to a veteran of the Spanish American War of 1898. Ah, but you soon grow old. Those of you laughing. Yeah. As I said, we are growing old and we’re passing into history with the reminder of our place in history. I have chosen to speak to three points very briefly both our legacy who fought in the Vietnam war and was served in the Vietnam era. I don’t know what history will say, but I will share what I think. So here it is a veteran’s view. Abramowitz view Of our legacy, very legacy in three short parts. First, we often forget the obvious we did our duty by doing so. We preserved and continue the legacy the profound tradition established by our predecessors in uniform just as those in uniform here with us today, represented by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs who as you can see in the program whose career is certainly an emblem of duty served in our day. We answered the nation’s call. Whether or not we personally wish to do so. There was the draft as you may recall and some enlisted, I would say tactfully under duress. But there we were not. Everybody responded when called and their action stood then and stand down. Stand now and stark contrast to what we did. We are reminded of what duty can demand. As we remember our buddies, Alan touched on. Just some of our buddies are long silent buddies who rest here in the punch bowl and in cemeteries throughout our country, in places known, but to God, they demand that we remember and our nation remember what duty can require and did require from them. Duty required their lives. Not everyone has understood what duty means or requires. And certainly there was a national ambivalence to say the least about duty during the Vietnam War Based on what I saw. And I returned from my second tour in late 1969. And in the following years, I never thought I would see the day when others would lament or regret that they avoided their duty or that they avoided the chance to serve their country. Now, the second part of our legacy, It is my view of course, and I think this is unique to us. The Vietnam war veteran. We are a living and will become a historical reminder to the nation to respect always those who wear the uniform and serve the nation, never again to confuse the warrior with the war. Our country has come to realize its collective mistake in treating those who served in the Vietnam war as well as those who served in that era with the general indifference and in many cases open hostility but rarely with the respect consistent with service and sacrifice for country. There was no precedent in our history and our nation came to realize that this was not to be a precedent for the future, but rather an aberration never to be repeated. I think the sentiment of regret and perhaps a measure of guilt became evident as the country United for the 1990 conflict in the Middle East Desert Storm Desert Shield when the troops were cheered when they deployed and even more so when they returned all of us, all veterans, regardless of war, we’re especially proud of our warriors and all of us were gratified to see the outpouring of patriotic pride and support for the the troops, parades, shows speeches, tributes. The nation remembered how to say thanks and it’s been this process of national realization and regret for confusing those who did their duty for the country with the decision to go to war and fight the nation will not make this mistake again. This regret is now international D. N. A. And it won’t happen again. This indeed, I think is our unique legacy on a trip to the mainland at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I stood in the Atlanta airport and saw folks assemble along the exit corridor as a young soldier came out with his rucksack on his back. The folks started clapping and the soldier looked around. Who are they clapping for? It was for him. And I remember thinking though it’s not for us, but just maybe it’s because of us. Lastly, the third part is a legacy provided by our families. The power and strength of the military family came to the fore on behalf of our buddies who were unaccounted for the prisoners of war. POWs and the missing in action. The Mayas. Before then, military families were silent partners. I know as I was raised in the navy, my father, father’s service, the wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, and other family members of those unaccounted for after a time would not remain silent and begin to unite in their demand for the nation to do more. In the late 1960s, the wife of a pow initiated a loosely organized movement that evolved formally in 1970 into the National League of P. O. W. M. I. A families. This National League of Families. They did not silently wait. They insisted to know what happened to their loved ones and their collective voice was heard not just in the military but beyond throughout our country and into our government, our government. The government listened to their insistence for full accounting, granted them access to those agencies that might help and recognize their collective strength as military families with the claws, we are indebted to them. They were and are the military family in action. I think their efforts were in many ways the precursor of military families having a voice having an impact. Indeed, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the military demographic changed to include far more families at every rank than before. Families became more formally recognized by the services for for who they were and what they could do. What did we see Coincidentally, in 1970 1970 a group of wives formed the National Military Family Association. Also in 1970 the navy created its ombudsman program. The army declared 1983 to be the year of the family. The various services created and supported entities that were self defining family support groups, Family support programs, key spouse program and the list goes on and on recognizing the families. There You have it in short form, my best thoughts. I’ve had 53 years to think about this. These are my best thoughts. In summary, we did our duty the continuation of a legacy left to us by those who served before us. We did not fail them. We reminded the nation though it took many years to never again diminish or neglect those who serve who do their duty to the nation and we watched the families of the Vietnam war veterans unaccounted for establish a voice and a presence that began the elevation of the military family to prominence and recognition of forced to be considered. I know there has been a deep sense of pride within us, perhaps less stated in years past, but there nonetheless our prayed pride in each other has never diminished. Nor will it because each of us answered the call to serve and to do our duty. We did no citizen can do more. God bless this great nation that gave us the opportunity to serve it. Thank you. Mm hmm. Yeah, Mahalo General Grammar, you know today we’re very honored to have a special speaker with us And I’m going to ask specific Fleet Commander. Admiral papa wrote to introduce our guests. Thank you Aloha. Dear friends. Uh, it’s a great honor to be with you today. To honor those who bravely served in the Vietnam War to the veterans of the Vietnam war uh, including all those held as prisoners of war or those listed as missing in action. Words cannot express our thanks for their service for their sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to all of the families who loved them who still loved them, who supported them, who mourned them many since we very humbly thank you. It’s my very great honor to introduce today’s speaker. A true patriot. A soldier’s soldier. The son of a Navy Corman. His father Alexander served in the Pacific during the Second World War with the 4th Marine Division, making landings in quad. Elaine SaiPan, Tinian and Iwo. His dear mother Mary Elizabeth. A nurse served with the Navy’s waves during the Second World War. And his beloved here, seated in the front row, ali and joins us today has self li served others as a critical care and cardiac nurse for 35 years. Nursing America’s most trusted profession. General Mark Milley is a native of Massachusetts as he will tell you all the time. Working class family joined the US Army more than four decades ago. Has since held multiple command and staff and positions in eight divisions and the special forces including the 101st Airborne, the 10th mountain, the Third Corps, the International Security Assistance Force, Joint Command, Deputy Commanding General U. S. Forces, Afghanistan, multiple tours in combat Prior to becoming the chairman of the joint chiefs. He served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the United States Army all while holding the upholding the very highest ideals of duty. He has been an absolute stalwart in preserving the U. S. Military as the most trusted institution in America. It has been a special vocation for him. Aside from helping to lead the nation through a time of extraordinary tumult history. Will remember him very well. It is my very great honor to introduce the 20th chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. General Mark Milley. Hello everybody. And um I guess the machines working now. So lower my voice a little bit. Hey, I wanna uh, have a little round of applause here for General Bramwell. I’ve known him for years. He’s been an example of mine, has been a mentor of mine. Uh and uh, we sir, are your legacy, those of us still in uniform. That was you the Vietnam veterans who trained us. All my non commissioned officers, all my company commanders, all my battalion commanders, every single one of them. When I was a lieutenant and captain, we’re all Vietnam veterans. My team Sergeant, Sf multiple tours in Vietnam and so on. So, so general Brian, thank you for who you are and who you represent on behalf of all the Vietnam veterans. Thank you. Uh huh. Governor gave thank you so much for being here. And don, thank you. Thank you for your leadership and your support. How about Rona? So without a microphone there she is Vietnam nurse able to shout all the way to the back and being married to a nurse. I know what it’s like to be shot of that. So well done. I want to thank Captain Hickerson for being here and carol, his wife. Your service. Your sacrifice for 1909 days in captivity is beyond description to people like me and and you as an individual, inspire us in ways that are beyond words and carol. Thank you because you inspire us as well for coming up with the P. O. W. M. I. A flag and and all that you, you and your family have done for so many years. So thank you so much. Okay. And I wanna, I know that Alan, we went through each of the Gold star families that was here. Um and it was unbelievable to all of us to hear of your loss. And I want to tell you um from the bottom of my heart representing all the soldiers, sailors, and marines that are currently wearing the uniform, how deeply grateful we are for the sacrifice and service of your family and the example you give to all of us. Thank you. Mhm. And and I wanna particularly thanks Alan the RMC, You know of his Vietnam Service with the Army in 67, combat medic badge, purple heart, bronze star. Uh and for him as was mentioned, service runs through his entire family. It’s a life of service. It’s a family of service And their son, Nicola is currently serving with the 100th Regiment of the four 42nd Infantry here in Hawaii a storied unit to be sure that everyone here is very familiar with and they’re a family of uncommon strength and resilience and they truly understand the sacrifice that comes with service On January 22 2005 there son First Lieutenant Oh was killed. He laid himself on the altar of freedom in Mosul Iraq While serving with this state’s 25th Infantry Division. Alan you and your family, I have given so much to this country in ways that can never be fully described and we all here today. All of the living. Oh, a debt of gratitude for your service, your family service and for your son service and sacrifice. So thank you for who you are. Mhm American involvement in World War Two began right here, attack on Pearl Harbor. And as mentioned, my mother and father both fought in that war and since the conclusion of World War II, from 1945 to the present, we have not seen another great power war. All you have to do is turn on the news or open up your newspaper today and realize that that is always a very real possibility. Give you an idea of the scale of destruction That was unleashed between 1914 the beginning of World War I. In 1945, the end of World War II, There were 150 million people slaughtered In the conduct of those two wars and people of this island gave their lives for this country in so many ways. And We know of the 4:42 21 medals of honor in multiple World War two campaigns and eight of those 21 are buried right here in the punch bowl but less well known that also prevented great power war was the service of those in Vietnam of the 58,000 220 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who gave the last full measure of devotion. In Vietnam 8699 are buried right here And of that group three are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. But in my mind all of them are true American heroes. The Vietnam war did not end with the warm homecoming that our military received in World War Two. There were no ticker tape parades for returning troops. Each of you in many ways were ignored, reviled in some cases actually spit upon a shame that was terrible in my view, but you provide an example of of duty as General Bramblett just outlined duty to our country in ways that words will never be able to describe and you demonstrated valor valor that is exemplified in the brave three recipients of the Medal of Honor that are buried here value. That was on a demonstration in the Central Highlands. Valor that was on demonstration in the rice paddies. The fellow that was on demonstration day in and day out in the jungles of Vietnam and valor is much more than just physical courage. More important than physical courage is moral courage. Valor must be selfless and involved. Great personal risk in order to save others regardless of the cost yourself. But words do not do justice to valor to the concept a valid. We need the power of example, we need you as our examples. We need the Vietnam veterans as an example of valor day in and day out and these three Vietnam veterans who are buried here who received the Medal of Honor, They provide personal examples, each in their own time, in their own way. A valor in its purest form, the story of platoon Sergeant Smith, Eddie smith. It gives us an example of extraordinary nature. On February 16th 1967, during a recon patrol, sergeant smith’s platoon was suddenly engaged with intense machine gun fire hemming in the platoon From all three sides. He was struck to the ground by enemy fire that wounded him in the shoulder, but Edie managed to regain his footing and kill the enemy soldier and continue to move around the perimeter. Not for himself but for others for his teammates, for his fellow soldiers. When he could move no further, he chose to remain in the open where he could alert the perimeter the approaching enemy. He put himself squarely in harm’s way so that others might survive. Eddie ultimately perished, never relented in his determined effort against a determined enemy valor in its purest form. Just a year later, lance corporal Larry Maxim gave his last full measure of devotion On February 2nd 1968 during the Tet offensive, the cam lo district headquarters that come under extremely heavy rocket artillery, mortar and rifle fire from a very strong enemy which had destroyed a portion of the defensive perimeter, completely exposed to concentrated enemy fire. Larry sustained multiple frag wounds for exploding grenades as he sprinted to an abandoned machine gun position, reaching the emplacement of grasp the machine gun and began delivering effective fire. After 11 hours during which he was struck repeatedly by frag grenades and concentrated small arms fire. He died. He had successfully defended nearly half the perimeter by himself, valor in its purest form and just one year later, again In January of 69 young man born on the big island, I was performing the duties of crew chief aboard the Companies Command and Control helicopter sergeant first class ya know And his teammates to the 11th. Their calvary regiment found themselves in a brutal fight against enemy forces embedded in a dense jungle from an exposed position in the face of intense small arms and anti aircraft fire. Rodney delivered suppressive fires upon the enemy and mark their position with smoke and white phosphorus grenades. Then a grenade exploded prematurely and engulfed Rodney and the burning phosphorus dense smoke filled the helicopter and obscure the pilot’s vision and he began to lose control of the aircraft. Rodney was partially blinded by the initial explosion and only able to move one arm but he used his good arm to hurl blazing ammunition from the helicopter and get it out. The smoke cleared for the pilot to see in the chopper did not go down without a thought for his own welfare. Rodney fought with a ferocity to protect his teammates and in doing so, he sustained wounds and yet persisted until the enemy threaded been subdued. These actions, save his crewmates. But they cost Rodney his life valid in its purest form. Each of these men, Like those of our seven gold star families sacrificed their lives for others for their teammates. But they also sacrificed for an idea. It’s an idea that dictators despise. It’s an idea that the Nazis, the fascists, the Japanese Imperialists hated. It’s an idea that the communists can’t stand. But the Viet Cong hated Al Qaeda ISIS and all the rest. I hate this idea. It’s a very simple idea as most powerful ideas are and it’s enshrined in our constitution. The founding document in this experiment of liberty that we call the United States and all this idea says the idea that is America is that you and I, no matter who we are, Every single one of us, it’s free and equal. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or Asian or Indian or whatever the color of your skin is. None of that matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, famous or common. It doesn’t matter if you’re catholic or protestant, Muslim or Jew. It doesn’t matter if you choose not to believe at all. None of that matters what you fought for in Vietnam and what we fight for today is what matters. And what matters is every single one of us under these colors of red, white and blue, every single one of us as an American. And you’re gonna rise. You’re gonna fall based on your knowledge, your skills and your attributes, your talent, your hard work and you’re gonna be judged by the content of your character, not the color of his skin. That’s the fundamental organizing principle of these United States. That is what it means to be an American. That is the idea that Sergeant Eddie smith and corporal Larry, Maximum Sergeant 1st Class Rodney Yano gave their lives. That is why your loved ones died in Vietnam to preserve that idea and to pass it on to the next generation. Lives cut short for the very cost of liberty. The cost of that idea. Their spirit and sacrifice. Guard this idea. The idea that is America. It’s timeless. And the valley required to protect and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, regardless of the cost to ourselves. In the preservation of liberty. These United States of America consecrated with these sacred grounds right here in the punch bowl and the lives forever. The legacy that you left in Vietnam and the legacy that you leave with all of us in uniform today, We are forever grateful. Thank you and may God bless America. General Miller Miller, Sir Mahalo NUI. We are grateful to you for sharing this morning with us and for your inspiring words and your steadfast leadership at this time. Our own Vietnam War veteran tom sterling who served with the 4th Infantry Division as an Intel officer will present a special tribute he calls prayer of remembrance. Okay, thank you, Alan. I confess that I don’t really know what a veteran’s prayer is. So I brought along a little inspiration this morning. This is part of the gear that was I drew when I reported that the 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1967. It was well designed. It is lightweight, comfortable, has lots of pockets and it dries very quickly when it gets wet and in the Central Highlands rainy season. It got wet very frequently. Ah I think I was supposed to turn this in when I came home, but somehow that didn’t happen and it managed to come home with me and it’s followed me around all the places I’ve moved this morning. I took it out of my closet and it’s still here. It’s uh a little worn, a little ragged around the edges kind of like the guy that’s wearing it. But it is the most valuable garment that I own because it is a tangible reminder of the people I served with in Vietnam and of the great honor it was to have served when my country called me as an officer in the United States Army. A lot of you out there have jackets like this or uniforms like this or you have flight suits or foul weather gear. I invite you in your mind’s eye to put on those uniforms again and imagine that you are still, or once again with the troops, the men, the women you served with. And I invite you to join me in prayer. Dear Lord, heavenly father Lord of hosts, Our Ultimate Commander in chief. Thank you for bringing us safely here today for this special event at this special place with some very special people. You know each one of us. You know us well you were with us when we were far away in dangerous places. Even at times when we didn’t know you including me, thank you for being our God for watching over us. We asked for a blessing upon all those who served and those who are here today. We were a mixed bunch. Uh, some of us went over uh in groups. Most of us went over individually. We had our own experiences. We have our own memories. We have are stories to tell. Some of them may even be true. But um, you know each one of us and we ask your blessing on us. We uh, some of us have difficulty in dealing with our experiences. Let us remember that long ago. We were sources of mutual support for each other. We still are so may all of us who served. Look for those of us who are in need of a kindly word and some support. We are grateful Lord for being here today with the gold star families. We have a deep relationship with them and it’s good to have them with us and get reconnected again. We are grateful for those who watched out for us, who cared for us and cared about us back then and still. Yet it’s not easy to be a family member or a friend of a Vietnam veteran. Sometimes we acted in an unlovable way and you loved us anyway. And we are so grateful for that. We are so grateful for those as Alan said, who never got to be veterans who perished far away and didn’t get to come to ceremonies like this today for many of them for all too many uniforms like this that I’m wearing were the last uniform they ever wore. We commend them to your spirit and your eternal care Lord in your holy name. We pray amen. Hello tom. You know, we will start our wreath presentation ceremony at this time. Fred Do you want to come forward? Those individuals who will be presenting reads, please take your positions. Reads will be presented by representatives of each branch of the military. Are dignitaries are veteran service organizations and Vietnam War veterans in memory and honor as a symbol that we will never forget Fred staedel and Air Force Vietnam War veteran who was stationed on Monkey Mountain in Danang will officiate the wreath presentation protocol. Thanks No, no they’ve been adding and some planting just two. Thank you. Okay, I’m sorry sorry we gotta go really. Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here to honor the legacy of all those who have upheld the highest traditions of service to their nation during the Vietnam war with the traditional presentation of floral wreaths in their honor presenting Governor and Mrs. David and Don E. Gay. Governor of Hawaii General Mark Milley. Chief Joint Chiefs of Staff. Yeah. Admiral Sampa Perot Commander U. S. Pacific fleet. MS Rhona Adams Vietnam Veterans of America. Chapter 858 President with Bruce Woods and Dickie Sonoco. Thank you. Major General James Jared on behalf of Admiral Kennelly. No, us indo pacific command. Mayor rick Blangiardi. Mayor of Honolulu. Okay. Lieutenant General James Jacobson. To Kiev. Deputy Commander. The event events P O W. M. I. A Accounting agency Director Kelly. Makin Grieg and johnny Webb. MS Andrea Gleason. Australian Council. General Council General Michael Ketchen. New Zealand Consulate Council General CEO in Hong. Republic of Korea. Consulate. General. Major General Matthew McFarland USA are pacific Deputy commander. Mhm. Major General Joshua sock pack commander. Major General Mark Hashimoto. Executive Director Marine Forces, pacific. Major General joseph Bryan. Commanding General 25th Infantry Division US Army Hawaii. Rear Admiral Matthew Sibley Commander Us Coast Guard 14th District Colonel Retired Arthur to lack Military order of Foreign wars. Colonel Retired Deb Lewis Commander V. F. W. Hawaii. Lieutenant Colonel. Retired Sanford King Reserve Organization of America Department of Hawaii Claire Livingston Director Oahu. Veteran council, jane Ferreira. Executive Director, Navy League of the United States Honolulu Council. Andrew her view via Honolulu regional office. Sergeant Major. Retired Calvin Segarra Fort Shafter post 10276. Sergeant frank Hawk. First Marine Division Lynn garnered Commander V. F. W. Post 2875 Sergeant, first class Doug Reynolds and lieutenant Mulally 5 5 2nd military police Company in Scofield timothy Wong Adjutant and Quartermaster. Mr. Drumheller. American Legion Hawaii Post 17. Mr. Gary Chamberlain Special Forces Association Chapter eight and Radio Men Submarine Service dan del Monte. Thank you. Thanks for your okay. Mhm, mm hmm. Yeah. Who? Hello. All right. Yeah. Okay. Mhm. No. All right. Present arms with black move ready. Hey, no. Hey, boom. Preset. Huh? Yes. Thanks. Mhm. Order arms. Oh dad. Yes. Mhm. You know if that ceremony doesn’t grab your gut every time you witness it. God help us all. Thank you. This concludes today’s official National Vietnam War Veterans Day ceremony. Your participation is a tribute to all Vietnam War veterans and we thank you for attending. We invite each of our Vietnam War Veterans to share your stories and rekindle old friendships Mahalo Nui for your attendance. God bless you and your family’s. God bless our servicemen and women and God bless America. The. Vietnam War veterans are extremely grateful to the leadership and staff of the U. S. Pacific command for their untiring efforts and dedication and facilitating today’s ceremony. We also wish a special mahalo to Director Horton and the masters of the National Memorial Cemetery of the pacific if any of the V. I. P. S. Veterans or guests are interested in a special mahalo and photograph with the, you know. Gerald to see cadets, please join us up front at the deck following the ceremony. But we would first like to request everyone please remain in place as General Milley and his party departs. Thank you so much for participating sir.

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