Green honors veterans in front of a large crowd

Photo by: Lauren Heddleston

The chilly weather may have moved Green’s Veterans Day Ceremony inside, but a packed crowd filled every seat in the Queen of Heaven Church Parish Life Center and people stood around the room.

Pastor Glenn Rodgers from Temple Baptist Church provided the opening prayer for the ceremony followed by remarks from guest speaker Dr. John McManus. He is a professor of U.S. military history at Missouri University of Science and Technology and an award-winning author of military history including “Deadly Sky” and “September Hope”. McManus has written 12 books on the topic and been on dozens of local and national radio programs along with appearing on many television networks.

McManus thanked everyone for coming and paying respect to all the veterans. He went into detail talking about the Vietnam War and what life was like during the war. The war, which began in 1955, lasted until 1975. Bugs were highly common during the war, McManus said, which resulted in many soldiers carrying insect repellents. Other conditions soldiers encountered were rats, swamps, jungles and red dust during the dry season.

“They hoped to do the job, survive and go home,” McManus said.

Of the casualties, 20 percent of them came from mines and booby traps, McManus said, adding at times it could get boring with weeks passing with no action. He also spoke highly of the medics, who were mostly 19 and 20 year-olds just trained. Those wounded had an 81 percent chance of survival, which was one of the highest odds compared to previous wars.

“The medics were one of the highest respected positions if they were effective medics,” McManus said.

Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer honored Vietnam Veteran Jim Mesko and Jim Boyea. Both were presented with city of Green 25th year anniversary commencement coins.

Mesko, who taught for 35 years with Green Local Schools is currently a correspondent for The Suburbanite. He is suffering from kidney failure and diabetes due to his exposure to Agent Orange. He is currently on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. Boyea served as a helicopter piolet during the war.

Neugebauer said honoring both Mesko and Boyea is extremely special for him because they are both good friends of his.

The ceremony also featured several songs performed by the sixth- and seventh-grade choirs from Green Middle School.


This story was also published in The Suburbanite.