Rededication of the 1st Cavalry Division Monument - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Veterans Council celebrates Armed Forces Day

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The Chattahoochee Valley Veterans Council celebrated Armed Forces Day by holding a rededication ceremony for the 1st Cavalry Division Monument on Victory Drive on Saturday.

Women wore yellow outfits to represent the Cavalry, and men wore Stetson.

Sam Nelson, the chairman of the Chattahoochee Valley Veterans Council told News Leader 9 that he is excited to honor Armed Forces Day by doing a special event.

"The citizens of Columbus and Phenix City put the first Cavalry division monument next to our office to remember the men in the 1st Calvary Division," Nelson recalled. "We lost like 300 men in one day over there in Vietnam. Recently, the House of Heroes called and said Home Depot wanted to refurbish a monument. So I told them about this one. They put several weekends and week days working on it. Here it is!"

Nelson is hoping to get donations from people in order to cover the mini-garden and the monument with yellow roses.

"Yellow is the Cavalry's color," Nelson said. "I hope we can get it decorated soon enough."

Chris Henson, a daughter of  a fallen comrade shared her story of losing her father in Vietnam.

"It was really tough. Today was the first time in my life when I've actually spoken about it both privately and publicly," Henson said. "I told myself to get a hold of myself because at one point, I felt tears coming. After all these years, how am I still crying?"

Henson said she shared her story in hopes of encouraging other people who went through the tragedy of losing their loved ones in wars.

"One day, someone was gone. Next, you never saw them again," Henson said. "We never really talked about it either. Back in the days, you never knew how to get information if it wasn't in encyclopedia and whatnot. It wasn't until I typed in battalion on the Internet recently, and I got more information on my father. I called this free toll number, and got in touch with someone who served with my father. I learned about what happened to him that way. It was an emotional time for me, but I think it's a good catharsis…hearing about it, and going through it."

An original member of the 1st Cavalry, Jay Copley, who was the command sergeant in the Cavalry spoke about his experience at Vietnam as well.

"To be honest with you, there were good days and there were bad days," Copley said. "We lost a lot of soldiers. We fought every day. It's not easy to have gone something like that. But I had to stay positive. Always think positive and never think negative. I hoped and expected to return home."

"There are two sides to every story," Nelson said. "Often times we think about those who served, and that is extremely important. However, our families are at war too. They wait for us, they pray for us. So our families are part of the team. That's why I wanted Chris and Jay to both share their stories. I think better soldiers are also the better family men."

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