Heroes: Fallen honored at Carson City ceremony
Terry Hubert’s raw emotion reminded everyone at Lone Mountain Cemetery on Monday exactly what Memorial Day represents.
Even more than 40 years after losing fellow Marine, Private 1st Class Michael Vernon Bludworth in Vietnam, the pain was evident in Hubert’s voice as he spoke before the crowd gathered to honor America’s fallen warriors.
“War is truly a terrible experience which indelibly alters those it touches. It is as difficult for me to speak about Vietnam today as it was 40 years ago,” said Hubert, a decorated Vietnam Veteran and president of Nevada Vietnam Veterans of America.
He told of his and Bludworth’s jobs in Vietnam as rifleman with the Combined Action Platoon made up of a squad of Marines and a platoon of local militia.
Aside from pacifying and protecting the local population, said Hubert, their real mission was to “deny the night to the enemy.”
He spoke of being with Bludworth “hunkered down beside a thick bamboo wall outside an enclosed village where the Binh Sohn River enters the sea,” in a village “nestled at the base of a lone mountain.”
And how he recalls vividly an exchange the two had that night.
“I chuckle to this day of Mike’s comment about the wall at our back that night and its ability to keep the VC out of the perimeter. Mike laughed, ‘The wall was built to keep the tigers out Terry. Not the VC. That’s why we’re here.'”
That would be the last time he would see his friend, said Hubert.
Bludworth, of Phoenix, was killed Feb. 19, 1970, while on patrol outside a village in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam.
The 18-year-old man’s name is now etched in Panel 13, Row 31 of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
It was evident Bludworth’s existence is etched in Hubert’s heart.
“It’s rather ironic (that) upon first seeing this lone mountain,” said Hubert pointing to the cemetery’s namesake, “…it called to mind that hill and bambooed village where Michael died.”
Hubert was among five speakers during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony, including Marco Manor, commander of American Legion Post 56; ret. Navy Lt. Commander David Treinen and Brian Worcester and David A. Davis of Carlin Camp 25 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Invocation was by Katherine Baran, chaplain for American Legion High Desert Post 56.
The Carson City Division of the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets posted the colors, and the 21-gun salute was by the American Legion High Desert Post 56 Honor Guard. Air Guard Chief Master Sgt. Rick James performed Taps on the trumpet and Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. The National Anthem was sung by Denise Berumen.
“On this very special day America pauses, remembers and gives thanks to those who selflessly gave their lives, paying the ultimate price for our freedom while serving our country,” said officiant Navy Lt. Robert Bledsaw as the wind swept through the hundreds of flags marking veteran graves behind him. “What uniform we wear, whether Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine or Coast Guard, we swear to uphold, support and defend that sacred document that gives us more liberty than any other country on the face of the earth – even if it costs us our lives.”
“Memorial Day is for these patriots who protect and perfect our union. It is also for those who came before them – those who fortified the freedoms for which today’s bravest go to battle,” wrote Sen. Harry Reid in an address read by Bledsaw. “Though our hearts break our resolve does not bend. And we recognize that the service of an American soldier, or sailor, or airman or Marine, or coastguardsman, carries a special burden. Our troops fight not only for the victory of one military or one country’s citizens, Americans fight for the freedom, the security, the human rights of all of Earth’s people.”
Nevada is home to:
• 14,778 World War II veterans
• 25,078 Korean War veterans
• 85,992 Vietnam War veterans
– Source: Marco Manor commander of American Legion Post 56