Vietnam veterans honored in Johnson City

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Veterans and their families gathered at the Johnson City Veterans Memorial to honor those who served on Vietnam Veterans Day.

The American Legion Post 24 performed ceremonies such as reading the names of fallen heroes and ringing a bell.

Fifty-eight names were read for the fallen in the Vietnam War from Washington County, Tennessee. A few other names were called for other locals who had fallen. One of those was Floyd Watsel Lamb, Jr., who died while serving in the Army. His sister, Judy Lamb Freeman, was there to hear his name called and the bell ring.

“When the bell rings, it kind of brings attention to the ones that served and gave their lives,” said Freeman.

She was joined by her other siblings and said they come to almost every memorial ceremony.

“It brings a closeness to be around other families who have lost loved ones and all the veterans,” said Freeman. “It just helps you deal with it.”

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One Vietnam veteran spoke about taking a recent trip back to Vietnam.

“That country, it’s great,” said the veteran from the podium. “I mean it’s done a 100% turnaround from what we were [fighting]. I mean, I don’t know why we spent so much time and didn’t accomplish anything over there.”

The ceremony connects veterans to a time with their comrades.

“And I think all of the people that I know that served in Vietnam, they know more people who were in their squadron or their platoon than they knew who went to high school or college with them,” said Fred McCorkle, a retired Marine Corps. lieutenant general. “They will never forget all of the individuals that gave their lives.”

Lee Ruffin played Taps on his trumpet. While the sound resonated throughout the memorial, veterans saw the ceremony as a celebration of the meaning of the United States.

“This country really is a patriotic country, and there are so many good people,” said McCorkle. “Whether you’re Democratic or Republican, everybody is always pointing a finger at each other. And we should be pointing a finger at what a great country we live in and what great people are here.”

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