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Anniston Army Depot's veterans program ensures 'they're never forgotten'

Employees and veterans listen to speakers during the Anniston Army Depot Veterans Day program.

STEPHEN GROSS/THE ANNISTON STAR (TNS)

By EDDIE BURKHALTER | The Anniston Star (Tribune News Service) | Published: November 9, 2017

Vietnam War veteran Cecil White struggled at times as he talked Wednesday after the Anniston Army Depot’s Veterans Day program.

“This is my homecoming,” White said of the annual ceremony.

White was among more than 40 Vietnam War veterans who work at the depot to be honored at the facility’s Veterans Day event Wednesday.

The 100-or-so depot officials, workers and visitors inside the gym at the depot watched a video that told the story of retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Michael Rose, a medic who saved countless lives during a days-long firefight in Vietnam in September 1970. Rose was awarded the Medal of Honor in October.

For White, who served in the Navy and helped load injured service members onto ships to bring them home from the war, seeing the video and hearing Rose’s story brought back difficult memories, he said.

“I didn’t do much ... and the real heroes are still there,” White said, adding that coming home from the war he and others were faced with war protesters instead of thanks.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, the Vietnam War veterans were recognized individually and given lapel pins by depot commander Col. Joel Warhurst recognizing their service.

For White, the ceremony was the sort of recognition he said he and many others didn’t receive after the war.

Lt. Col. Michael Lindley, commander of the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution at the depot, was keynote speaker at the ceremony.

“The important part is that they’re never forgotten. Not just today but every day,” Lindley said of veterans.

Depot worker and Army veteran Fred Collins, who served four years in Vietnam during the war, said after the ceremony that he doesn’t regret enlisting at age 19, but that what he saw in Vietnam “is a sight nobody should ever see.”

“There were good times, but there were more bad times than good,” Collins said of the war. “I will never forget it. It’s just there.”

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©2017 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.)
Visit The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) at www.annistonstar.com
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