Family, Vietnam veteran reflect on lives lost on battlefield at - FOX Carolina 21

Family, Vietnam veteran reflect on lives lost on battlefield at Oconee County Vietnam Moving Wall ceremony

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Opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Wall in Oconee County (FOX Carolina: 11/10/17). Opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Wall in Oconee County (FOX Carolina: 11/10/17).
Oconee County Veterans Council hosts opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall (11/10/17). Oconee County Veterans Council hosts opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall (11/10/17).
Oconee County Veterans Council hosts opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall (11/10/17). Oconee County Veterans Council hosts opening ceremony for Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall (11/10/17).
WALHALLA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Thurman Coward arrived at the Vietnam Moving Wall on Friday morning in Oconee County to search for 7 names.

"To me personally it's touching, these are my friends. They didn't come home, I came home," said Coward.

The U.S. Navy veteran lost those friends in South Vietnam while serving during the Vietnam War.

"They were KIA'd during my time over there in 1967," said Coward.

50 years later, Coward saw those names for a fourth time when the replica of the memorial arrived in the Upstate.

"It's wonderful that the people in Oconee County can see this firsthand," said Coward.

Coward was one of many veterans who came to a special ceremony Friday put on by the Oconee County Veterans Council in honor of the wall's arrival, those who served, and those who never made it home.

During the ceremony, they read aloud the names of the 21 Vietnam veterans from Oconee County who died overseas. 

Deidre Bryant and her mother Hazel Miller were in the crowd, waiting to hear "Gerald E. Chastain." 

"When they knocked on the door and I saw the uniform, I knew," said Miller. 

Bryant was just 3-years-old when her father, Chastain, was killed in Vietnam. She came to the service Friday for him. 

"Made me feel close to my dad. Made me feel like he knew I was here. It just means a lot," said Bryant.

Coward hopes those who come by the wall over the weekend will remember that sacrifice.

"I just hope that they leave here with knowledge that they sacrificed their lives, they paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we enjoy today throughout our country," said Coward.

The wall will be in Walhalla behind the Blue Ridge Electric Co-op from Nov. 9 through Nov. 13 and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The closing ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday.

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