Honoring a Local Hero this Flag Day
June 14, 2012 -
While I was home here in Western North Carolina today, a summer intern in our D.C. office, Ariel Cohen, spent the morning honoring the legacy of local war hero Otis Glenn.
Hundreds of Americans gathered at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C on Flag Day to pay tribute to their family, friends and loved ones who courageously fought in the Vietnam War. Among the names read included longtime Burke County resident and Vietnam veteran Glenn Otis.
Glenn served as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, where his bravery in both the battles of Khe Sanh and Con Thien earned him a Purple Heart medal. After he completed his service in 1968, Glenn received a Presidential Citation for Bravery, and then returned home to North Carolina.
Although Sgt. Glenn came home from Vietnam with no external physical wounds, the battlefields left his lungs in poor condition. His health deteriorated over time, and as a result Sgt. Glenn died in 2007 due to internal wounds from his service. Although his name is not in scripted on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, he is counted among the thousands of American patriots who gave their lives as a result of valiantly serving in Vietnam.
Otis Glenn’s wife, Judith Glenn, read her husband's name in front of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in 2009 and added his name to the Vietnam Honor Roll Book to serve as a permanent remembrance of his service.
Over fifty years after his homecoming, Sgt. Glenn’s name continues to be spoken at the wall. The annual Flag Day ceremony commemorates not only those who fell on the battlefield, but also those who perished as a result of war injuries once they returned home.
In 2012, 96 additional heroes were inducted into the Vietnam Honor Roll Book.
During the 1960s, much protest arose regarding whether or not the United States should actually be engaged in the war. As a result, many war heroes never received a proper homecoming or welcome from their fellow citizens. Speakers at the memorial event today called upon citizens to remember the patriotism of those who served in Vietnam as America continues to face new challenges.