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Kevyn Amos presents a portrait of his late father U.S. Army Sgt. Joe Amos to his sister Karyn Moss as part of Orangeburg Memorial Day service Sunday. Amos was killed in action in Vietnam October 1967.

Orangeburg County resident Karyn Moss and her brother Kevyn Amos loved their father.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joe Amos was killed in action in Vietnam during a firefight on a rubber plantation in Loc Ninh, Binh Long Province, on Oct. 30, 1967.

He was killed while serving his country only 12 days after leaving home. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

On Sunday, Amos’ children, the Orangeburg County Veterans Council and the Orangeburg County Veterans Affairs Office honored Sgt. Joe Amos with a portrait and a framed Gold Star Banner for his service.

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“He has been alive in our hearts, in our memories and every time I look in the mirror, I see him,” Amos said about his father during a Memorial Day ceremony held at the Orangeburg County Council Chambers.

“It truly has been a blessing to be able to come here and to receive recognition of what my father’s life truly meant to all of us,” he said.

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“The legacy my father left was a legacy of courage,” Amos said. God provided him and his sister “love and security” through their father’s “dedication and courage.”

“Thanks, Dad, for the legacy of courage that we will continue to shine in our lives as long as we live,” Amos said, presenting the portrait of Joe Amos to his sister.

Orangeburg County veterans also presented a framed Gold Star Banner to the family of Joe Amos.

The gold star banner was given to families during World War I to hang in their window in honor of their family member in service. When the family member died in combat, the star turned to gold.

“We thank you for his service,” Orangeburg County Veterans Affairs Officer Kenisha Grimes said. “It is a true statement that all gave some and some definitely gave all.”

Retired U.S. Air Force Reserves Lt. Col. Terry Martin, the keynote speaker, reflected on those who died defending freedom.

Over the years, he has met men and women who have wounds and scars on their bodies from war.

“I said to them ‘How were you able to survive?’” Martin said. “They said, ‘I was lucky, that is all.’”

“Soldiers just as good as me and some better than me fell right beside me,” Martin said. “Shaking hands with Medal of Honor winners and I would say to them, ‘What were you doing when you received the Medal of Honor?’ and they said, ‘Just doing my job.’ Over and over again: Just doing my job.”

One day he was standing in a buffet line when a woman said to him, “You are one of our heroes.”

“I said, ‘Ma’am, I don’t feel like hero,’” Martin said. “I don’t know how you are supposed to feel if you are a hero, but I looked at her and I said, ‘Those that didn’t come back, those are my heroes. Those that stood in the gap and made up the hedge.’”

Martin recalled when he was a crew chief on the A7 at the Korat U.S. Air Force Base in Thailand and was buckling a pilot into a seat to fly into downtown Hanoi. The pilot told him he was scared.

“It is OK to be afraid,” Martin said. “It is OK to think that the mission you are going on is the last mission that you will go on.”

Martin also recalled the stories of his uncle who was leaving Newberry for basic training in Fort Jackson.

“He was crying,” Martin said. “He was one of the few that day that cried, but he was among the many that deployed.”

“My uncle William said to him, ‘Clarence, don’t take it so hard. Look, others are not crying.’ And he said, ‘Yes, Uncle William. They are coming back. I’m not.’ He died on guard duty at Guadalcanal.”

“My mother said he was the best of his five brothers,” Martin said. “As far as we know as a family, he is still MIA. When we get together as a family, it always seems even though his nephews and nieces, we don’t know him personally, we always seem to talk about him.”

“We are proud of him as you and I remember our loved ones today,” Martin said.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said Memorial Day is about honoring those who paid their lives for freedom and service.

“We gather here this afternoon to honor and to recognize the veterans of our military services,” Butler said. “These men and women proudly serve our country, putting their lives on the line to protect the many freedoms we enjoy today and yet so many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice for these freedoms.”

“We will never forget the price they paid and the great sacrifice they made for us,” Butler said. “May we not only remember them on this holiday, but every day let them know that we are forever grateful and thankful for the services they have given.”

Retired Army First Sgt. Leon Fludd didn’t want to miss the Memorial Day service. He served from 1966 until 1987, having served in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive as well as serving two tours in Germany and one in Korea.

“I want to make sure that I contribute to the soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice to the United States of America,” Fludd said when asked why he was present at the Memorial Day service. “When I reflect on the years ago, especially when I came from Vietnam, there was a lot of people that did not honor the military soldiers like they should have because of the ultimate sacrifice they made,” he said.

Fludd said he is seeing a greater appreciation for men and women who gave their lives for freedom than in years past.

President of the VFW Auxiliary 2779 and VFW District 9 Barbara Shuler comes from a military family.

Her late husband was a U.S. Air Force veteran, her son and uncle were in the U.S. Army, a brother and uncle served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and a brother and uncle served in the U.S. Navy.

“Personally, I do it to honor my family, to honor my brother, my son and in memory of my husband and all the rest of my family who have served this great country,” Shuler said.

She is seeing an increase in patriotism in recent years.

“Thank you to all the service members. Without them, this would not be a great country. We would not have the freedoms we have and thank you for all your services,” she said.

The service included the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

VFW Post 8166 recognized prisoners of war and those missing in action from all wars and conflicts involving the United States of America.

Gold Star Mothers and Blue Star Families of South Carolina were also recognized. VFW Auxiliary, VFW Post 2779 and 8166 laid a wreath.

Taps was played by Steve Jarvis.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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