Hometown Veterans: Honoring the memory of a Vietnam veteran
Larry Wayne Day served in the United States Army as a recon medic in Vietnam
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Wayne Day’s father Larry recently passed away from medical issues, but his family is keeping his memory alive by sharing his military story. “Too many people don’t realize it takes a special breed of person and character to sacrifice their lives for their country,” explains Day.
Larry was an Army soldier who almost died fighting for his country in Vietnam. Wayne says it is important to keep his memory alive even if his father is no longer here. “Like I told him, as with any vet, if you don’t tell the story, it’s going to be lost.”
Wayne keeps Larry’s story inside boxes full of photo albums.
Inside, you’ll find a picture of Larry when he was 20-years-old and first drafted into the military in 1968. Then, a photo of Larry being shipped to Vietnam.
Larry served as a recon medic in the 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning. Unfortunately, the life expectancy for this job in combat was about three months. Larry was combat-wounded twice. Each time, he was trying to save someone else’s life. Wayne says his father was honorable and brave. “He was a hell of a medic, and he didn’t care who he was treating. He did what he had to do to save a life, but those aren’t the ones that he remembered. He always remembered the ones he couldn’t save.”
As Wayne stares at a photo of his dad, he sobs because he recognizes a familiar facial expression. “It’s referred to as that thousand-yard stare,” explains Day.
In the picture, Larry sits with a blank stare. He is dirty and has not showered in four weeks. He has not slept in 58 hours, and he had just come out of a major battle.
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After serving two years in the Army, he married the love of his life, Patty. Fifty years later, she wears both her wedding ring and his band because in her eyes, even death can’t part.
Who knew a little boy from Giles County would survive and save multiple lives in Vietnam?
Unfortunately, he had to take lives, but Larry also saved lives, lost them, and even delivered three babies while he was in Vietnam.
Larry received six Purple Hearts to honor his bravery.
Wayne is Larry’s first child and though time and death have passed, Wayne still honors his father with his decorated story.
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