For the next four weeks leading up to Memorial Day, the Albert Gordon American Legion Post 56 would like to introduce some of their members, and let them relate to what Memorial Day means to them.

Charles Duke is the Junior Vice Commander for Americanism at Post 56. He is a 1966 graduate of South Habersham High School.  While attending Shorter College, he majored in Medical Technology.  He took courses in Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry and BioChem.  

Duke enlisted in the Army where he received further training at the San Antonio Army Medical Center.  After receiving orders to Vietnam, he was attached to a Medical Company stationed within 10 miles of Danang Air Base which was located in a permanent MASH Unit at a former Marine Base.  

When describing the Medical Company, Duke states that with its surgical facilities, large ward and the ability to triage the wounded, along with a helicopter pad for seriously wounded patient evacuation, there was a 98 percent chance of survival rate for wounded veterans.

“I have a special remembrance on Memorial Day that is in memory of four Air Force personnel who were killed by a rocket attack on the air base one night," Duke said. "It was late and we all had turned in for the night. Unfortunately, a rocket did a direct hit on their sleeping quarters. We responded and tried to save them, but their wounds were too severe. They died not knowing what hit them. We lost many friends and patriots from all of the services that fought on land, in the air, on the sea and in the rivers and water ways of Vietnam. We want to honor all veterans from all of our wars, especially the men and women who paid the ultimate price.”

Remember, Memorial Day is a day to honor those men and women of the Armed Services who gave their lives in service to their country.  To help put that in perspective, each week we will provide a snapshot of the number of veterans lost in all of our country’s wars.

•Revolutionary War (1775-1783) 25,000 casualties.

•War of 1812 (1812-1815) 15,000 casualties.

•Mexican American War (1846-1849) 13,282 casualties.

Come and honor our fallen heroes by coming to the American Legion Post 56 at 309 Lee St., Jefferson, Memorial Day Event on Memorial Day, May 31, at 10 a.m.

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