Vietnam Veterans Exercise Freedom Of Speech - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Vietnam Veterans Exercise Freedom Of Speech

The ceremony started out like so many others with the 'Star Spangled Banner' playing, and a speech from a decorated war veteran turned politician.

From the podium, Representative Leo Berman of Tyler said,  "Freedom's not free. It's veterans like these sitting before me and those on active duty today that have preserved our freedom since the Revolutionary War."

When James Gill, the President of the East Texas Korean War Veterans Association got up to the podium, he noticed the empty chairs in the audience and couldn't help but say something.

"Citizens of Tyler and the surrounding area. You ought to be ashamed.  They go around with these little yellow tags on the back of their car saying 'Support our troops,' but I would encourage everyone of them to rip it off. If you can't get off your seat and on your feet and come out here and honor these veterans, then you ought to rip it off. You're not really doing anything.  When I look at these [active duty servicemen] men standing back here, I have to worry about what they must think."

Staff Sergeant Dejon Davis is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and is still serves as an Army recruiter in Tyler.

He says,  "When I retire, and I'm out there, I want to know that people still appreciate what we've done, and that we won't be forgotten."

Retired Major Roger Carson served in Vietnam as a member of the Military Police Corp.

He says, "It breaks your heart; to see that there's so much complacency among our citizenry.  They just don't seem to see the importance of what freedom they have because of those who have served, and particularly those who have given their life and paid the ultimate price."

Retired Lt. Colonel Bob Bostick is a World War II veteran.

"It took all of us to do it, and we did a good job.  I'd do it again," says Bostick.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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