BUCKEYE — On Thursday, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin honored Vietnam Veterans in Arizona, where the Cost of Freedom Tribute and Traveling Wall made a stop in the town of Buckeye.
The exhibit is designed to show support for American men and women in uniform. The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) is a non-profit organization that honors our courageous service members. The Traveling Wall is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. All wars and conflicts involving the United States are represented in the tribute. Along with paying respect to veterans and active duty military, the group also recognizes police officers, firefighters, and other heroes.
Palin spoke specifically about some locals who laid down their lives for freedom and referred to the Buckeye Vietnam patriots by name.
“We honor six men from Buckeye, Arizona, today, who served something greater than self,” Palin continued. “They made the ultimate sacrifice far from home. Donald Robert Elmore, James Dell Laizure, Jeronimo Lerma, Allan Theodore Macon II, Darrell Monroe Picket and Herman Sherna. They were young men with their life ahead of them when they died in Vietnam.”
An emotional Palin appeared to tear up. She then apologized to the crowd.
“This is why it’s hard for me to get through these, forgive me for this,” Palin said.
As she often does, Palin, the great communicator, made a personal connection with the crowd that was visibly appreciated. Attendees nodded and smiled when Palin shared how her husband Todd had texted her before she gave her speech, and told her he was praying for her.
Veterans of Vietnam were often treated horribly upon returning home. Palin did not shy away from this shameful chapter of history. “I am sorry that you were not given the welcome home that you deserved,” Palin said.
While putting a special emphasis on Vietnam, Palin also praised veterans of all wars. From Normandy, to the deserts of Iraq, to the mountains of Afghanistan, and yes, the jungles of Vietnam. Palin masterfully painted a word picture that clearly shows just how vital our military members are, reading words she often cites.
“It’s not the preacher who has given us the freedom of religion, it is the veteran,” Palin said. “It’s not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press, it is the veteran. Not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech, it is the veteran. It is the veteran not the campus organizer who has given us the freedom
to assemble. It is the veteran not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran not the politician who has given us the right to vote.”
Palin spoke from the heart when tying the country’s veterans to Old Glory.
“It is the veteran who salutes the flag; it is the veteran who serves under the flag; whose coffin is draped by the flag,” she said. “So eternal rest grant them oh Lord, and let perpetual life shine upon all our good veterans for they know, that their oath of allegiance had no expiration date, so may we never fail in our duty to our vets.”
After the ceremony was over, Palin was reportedly supposed to take off but she agreed to instead walk down from the stage to shake hands, take pictures, and sign books that people had brought with them. Palin demonstrated once again just how gracious she is with her time despite incredible restraints.
Gabriela Saucedo Mercer contributed to this article.