MIAMI COUNTY — On Wednesday afternoon, fair-goers took time out from the fair to honor Miami County’s veterans.
For the first time, the ceremony this year honored law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel.
Miami County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Dave Norman, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm, recognized the members of local law enforcement who also served in the military.
As this year marks its 50th anniversary, Robert Allen, who served two tours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, extended a special recognition to fellow veterans of the Vietnam War.
“My hats off to all the Vietnam veterans who actually partook in the combat of the day and fought for each other,” he said. “And if you’re a Vietnam veteran tonight during this presentation, I want you to know … despite the turmoil that happened back home … we fought for each other. Yes, we fought for our country, but because the support was minimal in many respects, we ended up fighting for each other. And that was fine.”
Allen shared a story about a helicopter rescue he participated in during his first tour in Vietnam. On Christmas Day, 1969, Allen volunteered for a mission to resupply a special forces compound in Ha Tien.
“All of a sudden, the North Vietnamese started to attack,” he recalled. “Hours later, having rescued many wounded, we were able to go home. Even though that was a hard time, it was one of the most fulfilling days that I had in my first tour.”
Years later, Allen said, he met the grandson of a man who was airlifted from the fighting at Ha Tien.
“He said to me, ‘That’s not the first time I’ve heard that story. My grandfather tells that story, how he was rescued and badly wounded in a firefight at Ha Tien,’” Allen said.
The young man told Allen that without that rescue, he wouldn’t be alive.
“You never know what our selfless acts will do for those around us.”
Congressman Warren Davidson also thanked the veterans who attended the ceremony for their service, and spoke of his own service in the U.S. Army and how it shaped his desire to continue to serve his country.
The ceremony concluded with the playing of “Taps,” and songs from the Troy High School marching band.