Veterans honored for Valor and Service - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Veterans honored for Valor and Service

November 11, 2003

Albany - Veterans placed wreathes on several Albany sites to remember their comrades.

American Legion Post 30 members laid wreaths on three monuments, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The black and white floral wreathes symbolize the service of veterans of all races who sacrificed their lives to preserve liberties in America and aboard.

Another wreath was placed on a stone ledger honoring James Worthy who was the only Albany man to die in the Persian Gulf War.

Veterans then drove to the Courthouse, where they placed a final wreath on the Eternal Flame Memorial. The flame is a constant reminder to honor military men and women from their courage and service.

Many South Georgians are among the millions of veterans and current enlisted men and women. Each has a different story, but many remain silent years after their war experience because the memories are just too painful. But on this Veteran's day, we meet two veterans who were willing to share some of those memories.

"I was a Merchant Marine at the end of World War II," said G.C. Croft.

"I was in the Navy from 1950 to 1970," said Dave Williamson. Williamson and Croft served in different military branches, during different wars.

"Our job was to haul supplies to the troops and bring troops back home," said Croft.

 "I was in Avionics. I served in air during the Korean and Vietnam Wars," said Williamson. But for Veteran's Day, the Merchant Marine and the Navy man came together to place a wreath on the Veteran Memorial.

"I wish more people would show appreciation for our troops. We should pat them on the back and tell them 'Thank you,'" said Croft.

Like many veterans, the hair has turned gray, but their memories of war haven't faded. "I remember coming into port during the Vietnam War. As we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, people threw trash at us. That's we patriotism was at an all time low," said Williamson.

They came home to patriotic fanfare after World War II and Korean and to controversy after Vietnam. But, at least they came home. "We're just proud to have served," said Croft.

Now, many of America's greatest Veterans are facing another enemy - time. "Most of the friends that I remember have died now. I guess we're all getting up in age," said Croft.

More than 50 members of Post 30 have died in the last year. "By next Veteran's Day, we'll likely have lost 200 veterans here in Albany," said Croft.

So, don't wait to say thank you to a veteran who's sacrifice and valor preserved the liberties we enjoyed today.

Posted at 3:45PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com