Plaque honors veterans lost to the Vietnam War
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ZANESVILLE - It's been 50 years since Glen Lightfoot saw his childhood friend, Kenny Flemming. On Sept. 28, 1967, like many young men of that era, Flemming was drafted into the Army. Months later his mother received the news that her son would return home accompanied by the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.
On June 21, 1968, Kenneth Claire Flemming Jr., became one of Muskingum County's first casualties of the Vietnam War.
Just over a year ago, Lightfoot walked into the Muskingum County Commissioner's office, hoping to accomplish something he thought was a half century overdue - getting some recognition for his friend.
Saturday, he was present when a sign was unveiled recognizing the 28 men, including Flemming, who did not return from V ietnam.
"This means so much," Lightfoot said. "A whole lot of people in Muskingum County knew these guys, we went to school with them. It means something to the families who lost these men."
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Commissioner Jim Porter said there was little hesitation when Lightfoot approached the commissioners in March 2017 with the idea of a plaque to honor Flemming for his service in Vietnam. However, commissioners believed it was time that all of Muskingum County's casualties of Vietnam were remembered. They spent months working with Ohio Department of Transportation to get a dedication sign placed in Muskingum County.
Initially, the idea was to print each service member's name on a separate sign along Ohio 60 approaching the city limits. As the list grew, that idea no longer seemed feasible to ODOT.
"Mr. Porter did a fan tastic job of going through all the red tape to get this done," Lightfoot said.
What began with less than a dozen names of local veterans killed in Vietnam, quickly turned into 28 as the Times Recorder began reaching out to the family members of those lost - including Kenneth Clair Fleming Jr., Danny A. Bolin, Kenneth Davis, Dana A. Dilley, Carl W. Drake, Marshall W. Fisher, John L. Morgan, Roy L. Phipps, Jerry L. Shultz, Thomas W. Underwood, John E. Wickham, Marion E. Wilson, Joseph Ray Pietrzak, Frederick L. Nutter, Robert L. Garrett, Thomas J. Gildow, Guy W. Huey, Ricky L. Hull, Jerry L. Hurley, John E. Mattingly, Donald Bell, Richard J. Hock, Ronnie S. Marshall, Allen K. McElfresh, Harold E. Boetcher, Ted Belcher, Tom M. Thomas and William Watson.
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Port er said he was certainly glad the friends and family members of the veterans omitted from the original list came forward after the story was published.
"We definitely did not want to leave anyone out," Porter said.
American involvement in the Vietnam war peaked in 1968. A year later, the Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from 1944 to 1950.
Before the war would end on April 30, 1975, there were 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties of Vietnam.
"Those people died for us to keep our freedom," Lightfoot said. "If they were alive today, they would do the same thing to make sure those who didn't come home are remembered."
Twitter: @infoobtainer1Read or Share this story: https://ohne.ws/2LGfaaLSource: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam