The naval presence in Charleston remains strong with the March 2 commissioning of the littoral combat ship Charleston and Navy Week March 11-16. Navy divers demonstrated their skills at the South Carolina Aquarium while sailors showcased theirs with displays from electricians, corpsmen, masters-at-arms and more on the Yorktown.

“Picturing Nam,” a traveling National Archive photo display on Vietnam, stood out. One photograph showed a young man in combat gear. Beneath it was a quotation from an unknown author that rings true for all Americans from all wars who have served their country:

“When you meet a veteran who has experienced war, you should remember that no matter how ordinary they look and sound, they are different from you. They know things that you do not know because your life does not teach things they had to learn. You were never asked to kill your fellow man ... or to die for your country. You have never emerged a hair’s breadth from death and experienced the elation of just being alive, nor have you had to endure the presence of death stalking you ... day ... after day ... after day ... and for some, even after the danger has long past. They experienced this so you and your children would not have to.”

The exhibit ends March 31, with Vietnam Veterans Day being recognized March 29, when admission will be free for Vietnam veterans and members of their immediate families.

Frederick Tetor

MN1, Navy

Erckman Drive

Mount Pleasant

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