Gaylord Klinefelter, Jerry Schroeder, Keith Reitz, William Davis and John Brannon will be forever young in the hearts of those at the Vietnam Veterans of America Roll Call Friday evening.
The Brookings celebration honored the 672 men who died in the war, and in particular, the five from the Brookings-Harbor area. Roll Call is held every Memorial Day weekend at Brookings City Hall.
Sporting camouflage, uniforms and Stars and Stripes outfits, about 50 veterans, friends and family read the names of those who hailed from Oregon.
They started with Andrew Abramson, Army, 1969, and ended – more than an hour later – with Gordon Zimmerle, Army, 1970.
“We who are combat veterans know some things others will never know,” said Jim Dearmond, a Navy veteran from Brookings. “Something the movie screen will never portray, something ‘real-time’ media coverage can never communicate. We know the smell of war, but do not possess the vocabulary to share the smell of death.”
More than 58,200 veterans were killed in Southeast Asia.
“Each man we knew who fell in combat remains as old as he will ever be,” Dearmond said. “I speak for those who experienced the daily horrors of the Vietnam War and who are still alive.”