USO salutes the past and present on Memorial Day

9:04 PM, May 27, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- On this Memorial Day, Sgt. Maj. Elizah Parlor vividly remembers his service in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

He chats with fellow veterans at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as he welcomes incoming troops, many transferring to flights bound for the war zones of Afghanistan.

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For his service in Vietnam, Parlor was awarded both the Silver and Bronze Stars.

For Parlor and others, Memorial Day brings back stark memories.

"I put my life on the line to get him out of there.  That's what you do, you don't think about it. you just do it." Parlor said, referring to his efforts that led to the Silver Star.

"We were pinned down on Hill 875 and lost a lot of people up there. It's even hard to think about what has gone on there," added Cpl. Bradley Harley, a Vietnam Veteran.

For Sgt. Parlor, the passion is now with the USO and making sure recruits never forget the past.

"I am honored to serve because on this holiday, it just makes me very grateful for everyone who came before me and its part of the reason I joined the Army. What people did for me I want to give back to do for them," said Pvt. Victoria Zetterkvist, a US Army recruit on her way to training at Ft. Gordon.

And at the USO, the volunteers were kept quite busy.  They were led by Roz Tucker, who has a son and daughter-in-law in the Air Force.

"I remember growing up when my father was serving in Vietnam and I remember them draping a flag on his coffin and folding it and handing it to my mother. So today is most special to me because I get to remember my father and his service to his country," Tucker said. 

"Let us pause and say thank you. Memorial Day is the day we say thanks for everything our troops have done for us," said Mary Lou Austin, President of the USO, Atlanta.

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