Veterans Share Meaning of Holiday
Veterans were honored this week in ceremonies near and far across Wetzel and Tyler counties.
Low Gap Church on Route 7 in Wetzel County held a patriotic service Sunday that acknowledged
local veterans. “It is an honor and pleasure toparticipate in this service for the the veterans,” said state Representative Dave Pethtel, D-Wetzel, as he praised the veterans for their service.
People sang songs that echo an eternity such as the “Star spangled banner” and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.SA.”
Recording artist Ruthie C. Dunn of Country Gospel was dressed in red, white and blue as she performed the songs that most people know by heart. American flags were distributed to those souls singing in the pews.
“I cherish the U.S. flag because it stands for something,” said Pastor Delbert Lasure. “When I see a flag on the ground at a cemetery, I pick up and put it right back where it was. We need to honor our flag.”
Tuesday at Paden City High School, students, faculty and staff showed their appreciation of veterans.
Sistersville’s post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Sistersville as well as Paden City’s American Legion posts will host a service at the Veteran’s Park on Water Street 11 a.m.Wednesday.
As the nation honored its military this week, two of Tyler County’s battle- hardened warriors offered their opinions about Veterans Day.
Conley Wyatt, 72, of Davenport, served with the U.S. Marines between 1964 to 1968. During that time,Wyatt did a 14-month tour of duty in Vietnam where he was a helicopter gunner during many battlefield operations.
“This is a day for people to stop and recognize the veterans of all services freedom is not free,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said he lost friends during his overseas service.
“I think about these guys constantly, but I really remember them on Veterans Day,” he said.
Wyatt, who was in his early to mid 20s, said life as a marine is very different.
“I saw loss of life during firefights, rocket and mortar attacks,” Wyatt said.
“That changes a person in many ways. I still have nightmares about what happened. Those never leave you.”
Wyatt said nearly 50 years later, he suffers post traumatic stress syndrome because he hasn’t completely left the battlefield behind.
“When you see someone you knew die, it does a lot to you,” he said. “You never tend to forget what happened. That’s not something that’s easily left behind. Many guys I know are still suffering
from what they saw back then, but today with those who served during the Gulf wars and Afghanistan. They are still experiencing the same things.”
Wyatt said there is one key thing he’d like people to realize on Veterans Day.
“Serving in the military is about a lot more than putting on a uniform, but duty to country and the flag,” he said.
Fred Clayton, 68, of Sistersville, served in the U.S. Army between 1966 and 1969. He served a 19-month tour of duty in Korea with the C Company, 1st 31st Infantry Division, Seventh Battalion.
“When I was on the DMZ in 1968, a few men in my unit were killed there while on patrol. Everything was really hectic that night,” said Clayton, who was a squad leader. “It was not the first time something like this happened in the DMZ.”
Clayton said he knew the men a terrible loss.
“I knew them personally blue collar guys,” he said. “They were great guys and good soldiers. I still think about them everyday.”
After Wednesday’s ceremony at Veterans’ Park, there will be a lunch served at 11:45 a.m. At the Elks Club.
“All veterans are invited and anyone who want to attend is welcome,” Clayton said.
For more than 13 years, Clayton has served as post commander Sistersville’s Shau-Robinson-Herbold VFWPost 6327.
“Veterans is a day to honor all veterans who honorably served their country,” he said. “It is a day of remembrance for veterans from all over this country both war and peace.”
Clayton stressed the importance of having the military protect the country so as to keep it free.
“Veterans make a difference, he said. “We help in the communities, we help in the schools and more. Senior Citizens anyone who needs a flag, we’ll get them one.”