On Memorial Day Charles Harrison, Walter Groomes, and Doug Battaglini shared thoughts about Vietnam
On Memorial Day about 25 folks gathered at the Carroll Co. Vietnam Memorial, at the corner of Willis and Court Streets, in Westminster, Md.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Westminster Md. – by Kevin Dayhoff
This year, about 25 folks gathered at the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial, at the corner of Willis and Court Streets, in Westminster, Md. right after the Westminster Memorial Day ceremonies at the Westminster Cemetery May 29, 2017 in Westminster.
For several decades, a number of folks have gathered there, every year on Memorial Day, for an impromptu ceremony at the large black granite memorial with the names of the 18 fellow Carroll countian friends, neighbors and loved ones who gave their lives in the service of our country during the Vietnam War.
This year, Carroll County marked its 150th continuous annual observance of Memorial Day with a parade and ceremonies at the Westminster Cemetery. The annual tradition was first organized by Mary Bostwick Shellman on May 30, 1868.
In May 2008, local writer and historian Carrie Ann Knauer reported, “As best anyone can estimate, 182 Carroll countians have lost their lives in the armed services during conflicts since 1917. But tracking exactly how many have died — particularly those in earlier wars in America’s history — is a difficult task, according to a local historian.”
The Carroll County Maryland Vietnam Memorial Park at the corner of Willis and Court Street, next to the historic Courthouse was dedicated on May 28, 1990. Every year at the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial, we remember those who gave their lives and try to give them a voice.
This year, in a moving tribute about the war and how Vietnam veterans were treated after the war, Vietnam combat veteran Walter Pete Groomes poignantly shared some thoughts, with our keynote speaker Charles Harrison, and my Westminster High School Class of 1971 classmate Doug Battaglini.
Both Battaglini and Groomes are held in high regard in the community for their leadership roles. They serve as a rock or many Vietnam-era veterans, whether they served in county, or like this writer, stateside.
After the war, Harrison continued to serve in the FBI, a leader in the Carroll County NAACP, volunteer leadership roles with a community focus group that served in an advisory role in the selection of a new Westminster police chief in the early 2000s, and as an Orphan Court Judge, to mention a few of his accomplishments.
In Vietnam, be served as a Captain in the U.S. Army as helicopter pilot. His service earned him the Bronze Star.
The comments of Groomes, Battaglini, and Harrison, tied-in with the moving remarks by Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo, the day before at the annual Pleasant Valley Memorial Day ceremonies. In a moving presentation, DeLeonardo spoke about his late Dad, who served in Vietnam. His Dad succumbed a number of years ago, at age 49, to complications of his exposure to Agent Orange during the war.
What many attending the ceremonies found particularly moving was his explanation, that for decades most Vietnam veterans never spoke of the war, or their service to our country. This came as a result of the way most Vietnam veterans were treated with disdain and scorn by much of society, and especially the anti-war demonstrators.
On Memorial Day Charles Harrison, Walter Groomes, and Doug Battaglini shared thoughts about Vietnam https://patch.com/maryland/westminster/memorial-day-charles-harrison-walter-groomes-doug-battaglini-shared-thoughts https://patch.com/users/kevin-e-dayhoff?page=1
My upcoming story this Sunday, May 21, 2017, will be on Sgt. Joe Oreto – http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2017/05/my-upcoming-story-this-sunday-may-21.html Biên Hòa Memories # 32 – Biên Hòa Air Base 1960-1970 – VNAF May 15, 2017
Time Flies by Kevin Dayhoff: “This Memorial Day we remember the service and sacrifice of Joseph Oreto” http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/columnists/features/ph-cc-dayhoff-052117-20170520-column.html The Black Horse Regiment first arrived in South Vietnam at Vung Tau on September 7, 1966. It was engaged in heavy combat and took heavy casualties throughout the balance of the war.
Joseph Anthony Oreto was one of 730 members of the ACR lost in Vietnam. He was 21-years old when he died for our country on April 13, 1969.
Oreto was stationed at the Bien Hoa Air Base, about 16-miles above Saigon and killed in Tay Ninh Province up along the Cambodian border, during Operation Toan Thang II. Otherwise known as the defense of Saigon, the objective was a search and clear operation to discourage North Vietnamese Army campsites and rocket positions within striking distance of Saigon.