Moore honored during American Village event

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On President’s Day, Feb. 15, The American Village officially changed the name of its Liberty Hall to The Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore Liberty Hall.

The ornately grand building was designed as a replica of The East Room of the White House and will serve as a large gathering facility, hosting events from conferences to large notable gatherings.

The man being honored in the President’s Day ceremony is 88 year-old Lt. General Hal Moore (ret.).

The son of an insurance salesman and a homemaker, Moore was born in Bardstown, Ky., on Feb. 13, 1922.

From humble beginnings he would become known for his exemplary leadership on the battlefields of central Vietnam.

Moore’s family was devoutly Catholic. His family life and early Catholic education helped him to develop a deep and abiding faith in God and to seek God’s purpose for his life, something Moore talks about openly.

Moore worked to get into West Point, where he held steadfast to his faith and graduated a commissioned officer in 1945. In 1949, he married Julie Compton, who became known for her love and compassion for military families.

It was her tenacity that changed the callous method by which the Army informed next of kin that their loved ones had been killed in Vietnam.

Moore is best known for leading his battalion in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam in 1965.

The United States had just accelerated its mission in Vietnam and there was very little knowledge of the area into which Moore and his men were sent.

They soon found themselves vastly outnumbered, encircled by the enemy, and without a clear landing zone by which to exit, but Moore’s leadership skills and discipline proved a superior force. He promised his men before leaving for Vietnam that he would not leave one man behind, and he kept his promise.

Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership in the Ia Drang Valley.

Moore is hailed by his fellow soldiers as a man of integrity and unwavering faith in Almighty God, an “ethical and professional soldier of the finest example.”

His ability to remain calm and focused while facing overwhelming odds in battle made him a leader men felt confident in following.

Moore’s book detailing his experiences in Vietnam, “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” was published in 1992. Mel Gibson was chosen to portray Moore in the 2002 movie based on Moore’s book.

Catherine Cousins writes a weekly column about the history of our county. Have an interesting historic topic? You can reach Cousins by e–mail at