Vietnam veterans residing in the Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home have received a lasting memento of this nation’s thanks.

Members of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1067 delivered Vietnam veteran lapel pins Feb. 19 to 88 residents of the home who were on active duty during 1955-75. They pinned residents during an afternoon ceremony with Medal of Honor recipient Mike Sprayberry.

“Wear the pin with pride, gentlemen,” Sprayberry, a retired lieutenant colonel who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War, said. “You earned it.”

Chapter president Charlie Miller led the ceremony. “It’s an honor for us to do this,” Miller said.

While playing guitar, Vietnam-era veteran Earl Watts sang his original song titled “To My Brother Private William Jones” which is also titled “Ordinary Soldier.”

Rae Barthel, the home’s activity director, confirmed that 88 residents in the 150-bed facility served on active duty during the Vietnam era, from 1955-75.

James Fisher, 91, from Oak Hill, Ohio, served in the Navy from 1947-60. He left for medical reasons as a petty officer first class after a car accident.

“I think it’s nice,” Fisher said of his lapel pin. He said it makes him feel “kind of proud, kind of glad I could serve my country.”

David Meinert, a Navy veteran from Decatur, said he was in Vietnam about a week. Asked about the lapel pin, he said, “I feel good about that.”

Clyde Fowler, 72, from Albertville, served in the Marine Corps from November 1966 to November 1970. He was in Vietnam from July 1967 to August 1968 and again from February-April 1970.

“I think it’s great. It’s wonderful. I’ll keep it forever,” Fowler said of his lapel pin. “I really appreciate them doing it for us.”

Steve Bozeman, from Georgia, retired from the Air Force as a sergeant first class after serving from 1928-58. He said the lapel pin made him feel “like a man that loves his country.”

The recipients included a female Vietnam veteran, Ida James from Goodwater, who was an Army master sergeant.

Rex Reid, 87, from Topeka, Kansas, joined the Army at 17 and retired as a first sergeant in August 1971. He was a prisoner of war in Korea and he served two tours in Vietnam.

“I know he’s proud,” his wife, Jane, a New Hope native, said. “He even wants to be buried in his uniform. He doesn’t know I don’t have it.”

The ceremony ended after the playing of “Taps.”

“Thank you,” Miller told the Tut Fann veterans. “Welcome home.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.