Saturday, May 8, 2010

Never forget

You couldn't help but be struck by the enduring devotion of Vietnam vets to one of their own today.

They turned out by the hundreds with American flags for the funeral of Sgt. James Harold Alley, who died in Vietnam in 1972.

At the end of the service, many clustered around the casket, touching it, placing little mementoes on top of it, saluting a fallen hero.

Sgt. Alley died at 22 while assisting in the rescue attempt of two downed American aviators, who were surrounded by as many as 30,000 North Vietnamese fighters during a fierce communist offensive.

It would be 38 years before Sgt. Alley's remains would be positively identified and returned to his family.

For those of us who survived the war, and have enjoyed decades of post-Vietnam living and a chance to live out our dreams, we feel renewed sorrow and a sense of loss for Sgt. Alley and his family.

For more, see Sunday's Bradenton Herald.


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