‘A day of remembrance’: Veterans pay tribute at Punta Gorda war memorial

Dozens gathered Monday to honor fallen men and women in uniform at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Harbor Walk Drive.

For Dr. Kathleen Roth, a retired army officer, she said she’s grateful for the opportunity to participate.

“It’s a sad day, but it’s a day of honor, and a day of privilege, privilege for me to be able to be alive here today,” Dr. Roth said.

Vance Binn was a former naval officer and national guardsman, and served as a combat medic. He said he still gets emotional thinking about his service, but was moved by the service at the memorial.

“Your job is to bring all of your buddies home, and sometimes you don’t succeed,” Binn said.

Gary Butler, executive director of the Military Heritage stressed the need to remember what Memorial Day means.

“Memorial day is truly a day of remembrance,” Butler said.

Butler also emphasized the importance of thanking those who gave their lives in service of their country.

“Whether it’s through prayer, whether it’s through thought, whether it’s just through a moment of silence, we in our own way need to say thanks to those who’ve sacrificed so America could enjoy the kinds of freedom it has today,” Butler said.

Binn said he appreciates taking the time to properly pay tribute to those who lost their lives in battle.

“As long as someone remembers you, you’re not lost,” Binn said.

Members of the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda held a moment of silence at 3 p.m. at 200 Harbor Walk Drive. They laid a wreath in honor of the 58,000 names of fallen service members displayed on the wall.