*This photo was taken in Vietnam approximately ten days before his death.
Remembering an American Hero
Dear SP5 Leo Joseph Horan, sir
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for the ultimate sacrifice that you made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. And please know that men and women like you have stepped forward to defend our country yet again, showing the same love for country and their fellow Americans that you did- you would be proud.
With respect, and the best salute that a civilian can muster for you.
A Memorial Day Speach in his hometown of Maynard Mass.
There are 45 names on this memorial. 45 men with ties to Maynard who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces during WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
I don’t know any of those men personally, but I wanted to learn something more about them. I’d like to share with you what I learned about two of these men, and what I learned about some other soldiers in the process.
The two men are Robert Bennett Emro and Leo Joseph Horan. Those two names caught my eye because they are listed twice on the brass plaques that surround this little park. They are on the honor role for the Korean War and are among the ones who made it home safely. They are also on the honor role for the Vietnam War, their gold stars indicating that they gave their lives in their second war.
Robert Bennett Emro joined the Army at age 20, prior to the start of the Korean War. He served for 18 years and rose to the rank of Platoon Sergeant. He went to Vietnam in September of 1966. Seven months later he was killed in action leading his platoon.
He died on April 18, 1967 and was one of 13 soldiers, marines and navy personnel who died in Vietnam that day. That was a typical day in Vietnam.
Leo Joseph Horan joined the army when he was 19 years old. He served for 14 years and rose to the rank of Specialist 5. He went to Vietnam in October of 1965 and died in combat on February 18, 1966.
He was one of 30 soldiers, marines, and navy airman who died that day.
- Among those who died that same day was a 19-year-old marine PFC from Los Angeles and a 40-year-old Army Lt. Colonel from Georgia. Their names are William Rigg and Charles Honour.
- Army Specialist 4 Bob Brumley died that day. It was the last day of his 12 month tour in Vietnam.
- Lieutenant JG Thomas Schroeffel died that day. He was a Navy airman flying his first mission in Vietnam. His body has yet to be recovered.
- Army Second Lieutenants Carol Ann Drazba and Elizabeth Ann Jones died that day in a helicopter crash that claimed 7 lives. They were the first military women killed in Vietnam.
Those are just a few of the people who died on February 18, 1966, and just 7 of the one million soldiers, sailors, marines, air force and coast guard personnel who have died while serving their country.
Each deserves to be remembered and today we are doing that. All around the country there are people like you who are marching in parades, placing flags at grave sites, and observing quiet personal remembrances. Thank you all for being part of that and thank you all for remembering.