May 22, 2008

Vietnam Vet Leon Buford to Speak at 62nd Annual Memorial Day Service

Leon Buford spent his 20th birthday as his first day in Vietnam. The United States Army veteran stepped off the boat in the war torn country on December 21st, 1966.

More than 40 years later he will discuss that memorable day as part of his duties as the featured speaker at the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 Veterans of Foreign Wars 62nd Annual Memorial Day Services. The Memphis V.F.W. will host the special celebration beginning at 10:00 a.m. on the Scotland County courthouse lawn.

Post Commander Donnie Middleton and program chairman James David Parker will welcome the guests prior to the traditional placing of the memorial wreath by Clark Mustoe and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Charles Harris.

Sheila Berkowitz will offer the invocation prior to the performance of the national anthem by the Scotland County R-I band as well as additional patriotic musical selections performed by the Memphis Community Players.

First Judicial Circuit Judge Gary Dial will introduce the feature speaker of the day.

Leon Buford served in the United States Army for two years of active duty and four additional years of inactive duty.

He was inducted in 1966 and started service at Fort Leonardwood before heading to Fort Riley, Kansas where he completed Advanced Infantry Training (AIT).

He departed the states December 1st, 1966 and landed in Vietnam December 21st.

Buford served as a front line medic for the 9th Infantry Division. He also served the headquarters of the 2nd Battalion 60th.

In April 1967 Buford was awarded the Purple Heart medal after being injured. He also was honored with the Silver Star.

Bufords tour ended in November of 1967 when he returned to Fort Lewis, Washington before being discharged.

Following the presentation by Buford, the Memorial Day Services will close with a rendition of Sleep Soldier Boy sang by Parker with piano accompaniment provided by Connie Courtney. Frank Reed will offer the benediction and the VFW members will present a 21-gun salute while TAPS is played by Melinda Briggs.

If whether prevents the outdoor service, the program will be presented at the VFW post home.

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