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Memorial Honors vietnam casualties

DOBBSTON -- On a quiet hilltop along the Danny C. Hayes Memorial Highway Saturday, members of the Windsor High School class of 1961 gathered with neighbors to dedicate a memorial to the county’s servicemen who were killed in Vietnam.

The Memorial is a white monument bearing the names of Danny C. Hayes, killed in action in 1968 and awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and 15 others who heeded the call of duty to their country.

Behind the monument is the flag for which they fought and died. It was obtained for the memorial by U.S. 6th District Congressman Ted Strickland, and had flown over the U.S. Capitol.

James Tagg, a member of the class of ’61 and himself a veteran, spearheaded the drive to create the memorial.

&uot;This means so much to me. Ever since I heard he (Hayes) got killed in Vietnam, we felt we had to do something,&uot; he said.

In his welcome address, Tagg paid tribute to to other Vietnam vets, whom he said &uot;know all too well what this day is all about.&uot;

He challenged those who attended the dedication service to think about what it’s like to live in a free country, and about those who paid the price so that they might enjoy that freedom.

&uot;Some may be dying right now and we don’t even know it, making patriotism an action word.&uot; Tagg said, &uot;Patriotism says ‘I need to be grateful.’&uot;

Tagg invited veterans of all wars forward to accept honor for their duty to their country. Out of the approximately 125 people who attended the dedication, approximately 30 veterans stepped forward.

They ranged in age from 87 (a World War II vet) to 52 (a Vietnam vet).

Of the veterans who came forward, nine identified themselves as Vietnam veterans.

Tagg paid particular tribute to those who served in Vietnam.

Tagg said those who willingly went to war could have dodged the draft by going to Canada, or by altering their bodies with drugs or otherwise making themselves unacceptable to serve.

He noted that after going to fight in a strange land, many returned home to find a cold shoulder from an ungrateful country.

&uot;You received virtually no recognition for your service and sacrifice,&uot; he told them. &uot;Thank you from the depths of my heart and soul. Thank you, welcome home, we’re glad to see you. To the Vietnam veterans here, you are no less heroes than those who served our country before or since, and we salute you.&uot;

In his address to the gathering, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown said we must never forget that our freedom has been bought with a terrible price.

&uot;As Americans, we have freedoms never dreamed of in most of the world,&uot; McCown said. &uot;But the price of those freedoms has not been cheap.&uot;

He urged people to reflect on this as they drive past the memorial and see the names of the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

&uot;We knew them too little,&uot; McCown said of the fallen soldiers. &uot;Their lives were cut short by their sense of duty, honor and country.&uot;

He told the crowd that &uot;we have a duty to never, never forget.&uot;

Several members of Danny C. Hayes’ family attended the service and helped unveil the memorial.

Hayes

received the distinguished Silver Star for his valor during intense fighting in September of 1968 near Quan Sung Hieu, Vietnam.

While on a reconnaissance in force mission, Hayes and others came under enemy fire. The sergeant ensured the safety of everyone else, even though he himself was seriously wounded.

Not until after he had helped others get to safety did Hayes seek cover for himself. He died in the process.

Kay Hayes, Danny C. Hayes’ sister, praised the Windsor Class of ’61 for their efforts to make the memorial a reality.

&uot;They worked hard on this,&uot; she said.

She recalled growing up with her brother.

&uot;We come from a big family. There were 11 of us. We teased and wrestled.&uot;

She reflected softly that her brother, a

sergeant with the U.S. Army’s 31st infantry division, had died ensuring the safety of his men, even while he himself was seriously wounded.

&uot;He was our country’s hero,&uot; she said. &uot;And he was my hero.&uot; Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune