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'All Gave Some – Some Gave All'

Clay County gives a warm welcome to Vietnam Veterans at TAPS Ceremony

Posted 3/28/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The annual Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony was a moment of solace and compassion as the county gathered around the TAPS monument to honor those who served our county, even in …

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'All Gave Some – Some Gave All'

Clay County gives a warm welcome to Vietnam Veterans at TAPS Ceremony


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The annual Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony was a moment of solace and compassion as the county gathered around the TAPS monument to honor those who served our county, even in such a challenging moment of our nation's history. 

"We are here today to recognize, honor and thank our Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice for one of the longest wars in our nation's history. Many never came home. Many are still missing today," Commissioner Mike Cella said during the ceremony. 

At the focal point of the ceremony was the TAPS monument standing beside the podium, "All Gave Some – Some Gave All" is inscribed.

Col. William G. Byrns is the namesake of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1059. He was a prisoner of war after his aircraft was shot down while flying over North Vietnam on May 3, 1972. 

"He was captured and taken prisoner and spent 309 days in captivity before being released during Operation Homecoming on March 8, 1973. Thank you so much for your service to our country," Commissioner Kristen Burke said during the ceremony. 

Operation Homecoming led to the return of about 600 American POWs following the Paris Peace Accords that ended U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. One of the returned prisoners included Sen. John McCain. 

The ceremony continued and featured guest speakers such as the JROTC members from Clay County District Schools, who wrote and delivered a warm welcome to the Vietnam Veterans. 

Over 50,000 U.S. soldiers died in the conflict. Several thousand went missing in action. For the soldiers who made it back home, the pain lingered and was often exacerbated.  Vietnam Veterans were frequently attacked, belittled and blamed. 

"I was in the army, but when I came home, I didn't like how people were talking back to Vietnam vets. I re-enlisted for the Marine Corps. Nine months later, I was back in Vietnam. Three purple hearts later, I finally came home. Out of 15 boys from my hometown of Brooklyn, I'm the only one left alive," Staff Sgt. Anthony D'Aleo said. 

"We had to come home in civilian clothes. People would throw eggs and tomatoes," he said.

He said he has many new friends in Florida and never misses a Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony. He said he had a stroke during the Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony two years ago, in which he had to be medically transported to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital, but he says he is healthy and glad to be back.

"I'm very proud of these young kinds," he said, referring to the JROTC students' speeches.