It’s one thing to want to protect and defend your country. It’s another to be thousands of miles from home, enduring debilitating physical conditions while being vastly outnumbered by enemy troops. It’s at those times that people report thoughts of home and family, of love and loyalty and what needs to be done to survive.
As we celebrate summer, moving from Memorial Day to D-Day to Independence Day and beyond, we stop to honor the sacrifice of so many young men and women throughout the years who have gone to battle in the service of their country.
One such story is a harrowing highlight of the experiences of Retired Col. Ramon “Tony” Nadal who came home from Vietnam, but not without the memories of all the men lost. Nadal, who is a graduate of West Point and who volunteered for Special Forces duty received a Silver Star for not only risking his life to retrieve two soldiers, one who was dead and another wounded, all while under heavy fire, but also for a mission to rescue a company who had become isolated in the jungle during the fight.
Nadal caught the attention of producers as a result of an AARP profile and they were able to bring his story to life along with rare footage of the first major engagement of the Vietnam War called the Battle of LZ X-Ray. The result is a gripping video called “The Battle I’ll Never Forget” that documents key moments of the battle.
Time has not healed all the wounds and there is still a sense of loss as well as “the absurdity of war,” but the regular reunions of some of the men still in touch after more than 50 years help to put the events in perspective as they respect the lives of the friends they lost.
Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized? Nominate them for next week’s AmericanTown’s Heroes.