Members of VFW Post 269 read names of fallen Kentucky soldiers at Friday's The Wall That Heals ceremonyMay 16, 2011
To view more photos from Friday’s The Wall That Heals ceremony, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/centertech/sets/72157626608872805/
After sitting quietly for nearly two hours, Vietnam Veteran Ronald Higgins slowly rose to his feet and saluted Kentucky “fallen heroes.”
Higgins, who served in the U.S. Army’s 101th Airborne Infantry, was among a group of people who gathered in the front lobby of The Center for Rural Development on Friday to attend a noontime military observance for The Wall That Heals mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and Museum.
The ceremony was moved indoors when heavy rains began moving through the area, but the planned service in honor of Pulaski County’s own and Kentucky native sons who gave their lives in service to protect America’s freedom was not disrupted.
Members of Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 269 and other speakers read the names of all 1,058 Kentuckians killed during the Vietnam War.
“I think about these men every day,” Higgins said. “Many of the names of my friends are on that Wall.”
Higggins said he attended Shopville High School with Vietnam Veteran and Army Sgt. Freedie D. Mize of Somerset, who was killed in action.
Other local military service members whose names are on The Wall included: ARMY CPL Ervil Thomas Bray, Army PFC Bullock, ARMY Capt. Durham, ARMY SP4 Jimmy Edwin Flynn, Army CPL Hines, all of Somerset; Army SP4 Earnest G. Sears, Alcalde, Ky.; Army SP4 Machughlen Meece, Drum, Ky.; Army CPL Bert D. Lefler and Edward L. Polson, both of Eubank; Army SSGT Gene G. Wells, Pulaski County; Navy EOH3 James H. Daulton and Milford G. McKee, both of Sloans Valley; and Army SP5 Billy J. Jones of Tateville.
Reading the roll call of all 1,058 Kentucky soldiers killed in Vietnam were Commander C.R. Keeney of VFW Post 269; Commander Scottie Nelson of Pulaski Vets; Bob Thornton, second vice commander of Department of Kentucky AM Vets; SFC Jeannie Cottle, a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructor at Southwestern High School; and Kathy Hall.
The Wall That Heals, a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will remain on the grounds of The Center through Sunday. American Legion Post 38 will present full military honors at closing ceremony at noon on Saturday at The Center.