by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – This LOVELAND MAGAZINE TV video is a slide show, with two narrations. The photos were taken during Loveland’s Memorial Day observance, the parade, and ceremony, on May 27.
The narrations begin with this year’s keynote address by Loveland resident and former Marine, Scott Gorden. The second is the keynote address that Bill Fee gave at last year’s ceremony.
You can listen to the speeches as you look at the photos.
If Gordon’s father had been able to give this year’s Memorial Day address at the Loveland Veterans’ Memorial, Scott said he would have told people, “I do not enjoy Memorial Day. I love birthdays. I love the 4th of July. I love November 10th. I respect Memorial Day.”
Because of a recent illness, Bruce Gordon was unable to give the speech he was invited to deliver so Scott filled in, citing notes his father had written on 3″ X 5″ note cards. Scott, a former Marine, using his father’s notes and his own perspective put the somber day into perspective for the hundreds of people who gathered in the Memorial Plaza. Scott said that his father made it perfectly clear to him growing up that Memorial Day was not a happy day for him and that he hated when people would wish him a “Happy Memorial Day.” Bruce Gordon would tell his son, “Memorial Day is a day of respect, a day of honor.”
After a year in college, at the age of 19, Bill Fee enlisted in the Army in 1967 and volunteered for service in Vietnam. He served in combat as a rifleman in the First Infantry Division and was wounded in combat in November of 1967. Fee spent 10 months in three different Army hospitals undergoing four operations to repair a damaged shoulder. In 1984, Fee and fellow Vietnam Veteran Earl Corell co-directed the fundraising, design, and dedication of the Greater Cincinnati Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Eden Park. The Memorial dedication occurred in April of 1984.
In 2016, Fee published his first book, Memoir of Vietnam 1967, detailing the story of his time in the military’s First Infantry Division in Vietnam, and the impact the war has had on his life in later years.
Fee’s 2018 speech was so memorable and meaningful we decided to re-publish his words this way and as you will see they are a remarkable match of what Scott Gorden said this year about the purpose of Memorial Day in Loveland.
David Miller, the Publisher, and Editor of Loveland Magazine edited his photos into this video. He was drafted into the Army in 1968 and served in combat in Vietnam in an artillery battery.
He told me that he has always been grateful for the memorial to Vietnam Vets that Bill Fee and Earl Corell erected in Eden Park. “It was a very real honor and pleasure to meet Bill last year and hear what he had to say,” Miller said.
Miller told me that he attended the dedication of the memorial in 1984 and took with him his dog tags and the small number of medals he was given to anyone after serving in Vietnam.
“I got no special medals, just the ones they gave to soldiers like me that they were happy with because we knew how to take orders. I may have even taken some bits of shrapnel that I took home as souvenirs. I left it all at the base of the memorial. I guess I thought it could erase the bad taste of war, Johnson, McNamara, and Nixon. In the end, all I did was burden Bill and Earl,” Miller explained, “Within hours of getting back to Loveland that afternoon, it was either Bill Fee or Earl Corell who was on the other end of the phone when it rang.” The message he remembers is that the phone call was a simple one, but one he has never forgotten. “David, are you OK?”
Miller said that there are a lot of David Miller’s around the Cincinnati area. “They may have made a lot of phone calls that day until they reached the right, David Miller. It was very flattering that I got the call, and I have always been impressed with the concern and care. I was doing OK, just being a little defiant.”
While in Vietnam Miller began his lifelong passion for taking photos of people.
“We could order good Japanese cameras through the Army PX system and the price was right because we were fairly close to Japan,” Miller said, “I wanted to have photos to send home to my mom so she knew I was safe and having a good time.”
Miller laughed and said that obviously, the photo above was not one of those, “Hey Mom – I’m having fun and love Vietnam moments.”
Miller added, “I do however love the words and sentiments that Scott Gordon and Bill Fee expressed at the Loveland Veterans’ Memorial that you can hear in this video. One doesn’t have to remind either that Memorial Day is for the ‘Gold Star’ moms, dads, spouses, children, and siblings. For them and those who served and may have lost their best friend – it is a day of mourning. Their eulogies were fitting for what can be an oppressively solemn day for many.”
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