Remembering those who served
During a trip to Pensacola, Fla. last November, I visited the Veterans Park, that features an exact half-scale replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
This replica wall, called Wall South is the only permanent one outside of the
nation’s capital and lists all 58,217 Americans killed in that war.
Like the original Wall in Washington, D.C., names can be located by using a computer to search by name or hometown.
I was curious to see how many names were on the Wall from Hartselle. Five names came up on the computer.
The men from Hartselle are: Sgt. Gary B. Harris, U.S. Army; Sgt Paul G. Hendrix, U.S. Marines; Pfc Gerald B. Lane, U.S. Marines; LTC Ralph Pattillo, U.S. Air Force; and Cpl Johnnie B. Sewell, U.S. Army.
Sgt. Gary B. Harris, 20, was killed April 1, 1968. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leon Harris of Hartselle. He is interred in Aldridge Grove Church of Christ cemetery.
Sgt. Paul G. Hendrix, 32, was killed on July 15, 1966. He was the son of J.D. Hendrix of Hartselle, but is interred in Ft. Worth, Tex.
Pfc. Gerald B. Lane, 20, was killed on March 5, 1969, by enemy mortar fire. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Lane of Hartselle Route 4. Pfc. Lane
went to Danville High School.
LTC Ralph Pattillo, 43, was listed as Missing In Action on Feb. 16, 1971, while flying an F-4D “Phantom” over Thailand protecting an AC-130 Gunship. Never finding any remains of the airplane or of Colonel Pattillo, he remains listed as “MIA”.
Cpl. Johnnie B. Sewell, 21, was killed July 25, 1968in a fierce battle with the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. O.D. Sewell of Hartselle.
Cpl. Sewell was an outstanding athlete during his time at Morgan County High School in Hartselle.
Like many communities across the Country, Hartselle was not spared the utlimate sacrifice made by its young men during a long and terrible war. Seeing all the names engraved on the Vietnam Wall, either in Washington, D.C. or in Pensacola, Fla. is a sobering and humbling experience.
As we remember all of our veterans from all wars this Memorial Day, both living and dead, let’s pause a moment on their sacrifice, and give thanks to them for preserving our freedom and honor.