Legionnaires Vietnam Veterans Day Tribute

Hackettstown, NJ

I wrote this speech and delivered it during our Veterans Day ceremony honoring the 50th year of the Vietnam War. I fought in Vietnam, 4th Infantry, 1968-1969 and was awarded a Bronze Star for Valor with one Oak Leaf Cluster.

Thank you for your consideration.

Arnold Solomon

´╗┐DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY 3 WORDS, THE MOST POWERFUL IN THE LIFE OF A SOLDIER, SAILOR, MARINE, AND AIRMAN, WORDS WE REPEAT WHEN TAKING THE OATH TO HONOR OUR CONSTITUTION, TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

EVERY VETERAN IN THIS ROOM, IN THIS COUNTRY HAS DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO MAKING SURE THAT THESE THREE WORDS REMAIN AS PARAMOUNT TODAY AS THEY DID THE DAY THEY STEPPED ONTO THE BATTLEFIELDS AROUND THE WORLD IN DAYS PAST.

OUR VETERANS SACRIFICED SO MUCH OF THEIR LIVES SO THAT WE MAY ENJOY THE FREEDOMS THEY FOUGHT SO GALLANTLY FOR AND PAID SUCH A HIGH PRICE FOR.

SO MANY VETERANS LIVE WITH THE SCARS OF WAR, THE SOUNDS, THE SMELLS, THE HORROR OF THE BATTLEFIELDS WHETHER ON LAND, ON THE SEAS, OR IN THE SKIES. WE REMEMBER THOSE WHO STAYED BEHIND, AND PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR THEIR BRAVERY. WE HONOR THEM EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES.

YET MANY VETERANS PAY ANOTHER PRICE. THE DAILY FLASHBACKS OF THAT FAR AWAY BATTLEFIELD, THE HARDSHIPS OF DEALING WITH THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES, THE PHYSICAL WOUNDS OF BATTLE, THE MENTAL WOUNDS OF BATTLE. SO MANY VETERANS LYE IN VETERAN HOSPITALS AND VETERAN NURSING HOMES, SHELTERED AWAY FROM FORGOTTEN LOVED ONES. THESE ARE THE SAME BRAVE VETERANS THAT CHARGED UP SOME FOREIGN UNNAMED HILL. ONLY NOW THEY FIGHT A DIFFERENT BATTLE, A BATTLE OF IDENTITY, OF LONELINESS, OF DESPAIR.

IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY, AS AMERICANS, TO NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES, TO LIFT OUR ARMS TO HELP THEM, AND TO ALWAYS LET THEM KNOW THEY ARE THE FABRIC OF THIS COUNTRY, THE HEROES WE NEED DO BADLY.

SO AS MANY SERVICE MEMBERS, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN BECOME VETERANS AND HANG UP THEIR UNIFORMS WITH ALL THEIR MEDALS AND RIBBONS FOR THE LAST TIME AND BEGIN THE NEXT CHAPTER OF THEIR STORIED LIVES.

LET'S MAKE IT EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR THAT WE SALUTE THEM FOR THEIR DEDICATION TO US AND THEIR COUNTRY.

THEY ARE THE FOUNDATION OF OUR FREEDOM, THE BACKBONE OF OUR DEMOCRACY AND LEAVE BEHIND THE TRUE LEGACY FOR ALL AMERICANS TO FOLLOW.

ARNOLD SOLOMON
FIRST LT
4th INFANTRY DIVISION
VIETNAM 68-69
AMERICAN LEGION BLUERIDGE POST 164
FIRST VICE CMDR
HACKETTSTOWN, NJ

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