Those years were not the happiest in our nation’s history.
It seemed like there was always some type of turmoil or chaos in the air.
The assassination of a president, a potential president, and a prominent civil rights leader fanned the flames of buried frustrations that burned throughout those days.
The backdrop to all of this was the conflict in Vietnam.
The reasons for U.S. forces being there have been debated for almost half a century.
Agree or disagree, the cause was a noble one.
A country being attacked by a ruthless neighbor is the type of situation for which America has been always ready to give assistance.
It is within our nature to help those who seek the same liberties and freedoms we have and so often take for granted.
In seeking to help a people striving for freedom, we sent America’s best.
The young men and women of the era traveled thousands of miles across the ocean to a strange land and unfamiliar culture.
A total of more than 3 million served in the Southeast Asia theater and 2.5 million served within South Vietnam itself.
The battles were tough and bloody. The jungles of that remote land took their toll and the ruthlessness of the enemy took many lives.
It took 12 years before the last American troops finally left.
There is now a roll call of 58,195 who never came home and whose names are now enshrined on the long, black wall in Washington, D.C., meant to honor their sacrifice.
However, it is only now many are beginning to have some understanding that whatever one thought of the necessity of the conflict, those who served in it never really got their due.
It seems un-American not to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of those who wear the proud colors into any combat.
Slowly but surely, that time has come for those who served in Vietnam.
One of them is Jack Edward Davis of Cleveland, who passed away Feb. 8 at the age of 61.
Davis has been recognized by the Tennessee General Assembly for being “an exemplary public servant and constant professional who worked assiduously to improve the quality of life for his fellow citizens in numerous capacities.”
It also mentions his service in Vietnam and his retirement from the military as a sergeant first class after 27 years of active duty.
Davis then “served with acumen and alacrity” with the U.S. Postal Service for 11 years where “he earned the respect of his peers and superiors alike for the exemplary quality of his work.”
The resolution was sponsored by state Rep. Eric Watson, who said in recognizing Davis’ service it also stands to recognize all who fight and sacrifice when their country calls.
Watson recently gave the Davis family the formal parchments which honor their father’s service.
“This is the highest honor from the state Capitol anyone can receive,” Watson said to the family. “Mr. Davis meant a lot to this town and this community.”
“He would be proud and honored,” said Davis’ son Stephen. “He really would. He took his years of service very, very seriously.”
Stephen, joined by his sister Adrianna, noted his father said those who served never really got the recognition they deserved.
“Well, he got it today,” Stephen said.