Today is Veterans Day. It’s one day a year that we, as a nation, honor those men and women who have served these United States of America. The following is a story of a young man’s heroic actions during the height of the Vietnam War that saved the lives of many soldiers who would not have survived without this young man’s efforts.
“You’re a 19-year-old kid. You’re critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, Oct. 14, 1965, LZ X-ray, Vietnam. Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 to 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own infantry commander has ordered the medivac helicopters to stop coming in.
“You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you’re not getting out. Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
“Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn’t seem real, because no medi-vac markings are on it.
“Ed Freeman is coming for you. He’s not medi-vac, so it’s not his job, but he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the medi-vacs were ordered not to come.
“He’s coming anyway.
“And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load two or three of you on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the doctors and nurses.
And, he kept coming back...13 more times.
And he took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.
Medal of Honor recipient, Ed Freeman, died at the age of 80, in Boise, Idaho.”
I use Maj. Freeman as an example of the men who fought in Indochina during the Vietnam War. I could just as easily have selected one of the brave men who were part of the Bataan Death March. Their story has been told and will be retold in our town again and again, as it should be.
America, it’s time to say thank you to our young men and women who gave up their youth for this nation.
Thank you veterans.