Honoring their Service

Osborne challenges students to honor all vets

 

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

 

When Matagorda County Sheriff Frank “Skipper” Osborne took the stage at Tidehaven High School’s annual Veteran’s Day Program, he took the stage not only as the sheriff of the county but as a Vietnam Veteran.

“I wanted the students to not only honor the all the Vietnam Veterans alive and well today but to remember and honor all of the ones who didn’t make it back home,” Osborne said. “I wanted the students to not only remember all of those who have served and are still alive but to appreciate what these veterans did for all of us.”

Osborne praised the work of the helicopter medevac teams that worked to remove injured soldiers from the line of fire after they had become hurt in the field of battle.

One of those that were pulled out of harm’s way was Osborne himself.

“The one that picked me up 38 hours after I was wounded gave me one of the greatest times in my life,” Osborne said. 

Osborne was wounded in 1967 in Vietnam 11 months after being dispatched to the Khe Sanh region. In this ambush, as Osborne described it, his troop of 74 left 34 dead, 26 wounded with only 14 surviving to fight another day.

“It wasn’t a good day,” Osborne said. 

The Battle of Khe Sanh began on Jan. 21, 1968, when forces from the People’s Army of North Vietnam (PAVN) carried out a massive artillery bombardment on the U.S. Marine garrison at Khe Sanh, located in South Vietnam near the border with Laos.

It was considered one of the deadliest regions of the Vietnam War.

Osborne suffered shrapnel and gunfire wounds and was sent back to the United States to recover and serve out his term of duty.

“It was the greatest feeling to be taken out of there and taken to the hospital ship,” Osborne said. “The men and woman manning those helicopters came in whenever you needed them. They had bullets being fired at them but they would make a safe landing to pick you up and get you out of there.”

Osborne said it was refreshing to see the young students at Tidehaven High School hold such high respect for the veterans that have served this country and honor them during Monday’s ceremony.

“I asked the junior high and high school kids if they knew why Veteran’s Day was held on the 11th of November,” Osborne said. “I asked them to raise their hands if they knew why it was held on Nov. 11 and not too many of them raised their hands.

“I explained to them that World War I ended in 1918 on Nov. 11 and the treaty was signed in the 11th hour,” Osborne said. “That is why Veteran’s Day will always be on Nov. 11. 

Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on Nov. 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable). It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day that are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. 

Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.

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