Opinion: All gave some, some gave all

Published 2:41 pm Monday, April 3, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

The Alabama National Cemetery recently observed National War Veterans Day by holding a ceremony in honor of Vietnam veterans on Wednesday, March 29. The Vietnam War Veterans Commemoration Ceremony served as an opportunity to honor the veterans that are still with us as well as those who were killed in action or died from complications related to their experiences in the war.

Ceremonies like the one held at the Alabama National Cemetery serve as a moment for the minds of citizens to reflect on the cost of war as well as provide an opportunity to show respect and gratitude for a group of veterans that, in many ways, did not receive it in their own time.

“Holding this ceremony, I think is a really important thing to continue to show we recognize the (veterans’) sacrifice especially considering the political climate when Vietnam ended,” Emcee Emma Noble said. “The veterans just weren’t recognized the way they should have been. I think it’s really important that we continue to do this.”

There is a famous saying, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Humans are such forgetful creatures, so ceremonies like these help keep us humble and remind us of the consequences of war and the value of our veterans.

One Vietnam veteran at the ceremony wore a jacket that had a powerful phrase on it that read, “All gave some, some gave all.” Regardless of one’s political opinion on our country’s involvement in that war, you must respect the brave men and women who sacrificed so much.

During the ceremony, veteran members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Birmingham Chapter 2202 were recognized as well as Goldstar family members of Vietnam veterans.

Noble shared tales of heroism from the war with the veterans in attendance, and the Alabama Bluegrass Hall of Fame Group, Three on a String, performed old tunes as a callback to what some veterans may have listened to while “over there.”

“As the daughter of a Vietnam era veteran, I am proud to say that today’s program is a tribute to all who served in Vietnam and features one representative story of the great American heroes who valiantly served during the Vietnam War,” Noble said. “The Alabama National Cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of our nations heroes, including over 6000 Vietnam veterans. This cemetery serves as a lasting tribute to the military service and sacrifice of those willing to lay down their lives for our freedom.”

The first Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony at the Alabama National Cemetery was held in 2019, and was the start of a tradition I hope continues.