Memorial Day Salute

Richard Alexandra "Dickie" Ware black and white US Army portrait before leaving for Vietnam.

Updated: May 14, 2024

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day? Or why there are no parades on Memorial Day? When and Why do we have them as federal holidays?

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, is dedicated to honoring and remembering military personnel who have died in service to their country. This day originated after the Civil War, initially known as Decoration Day, when people would decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. The first national observance was on May 30, 1868, as proclaimed by General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic. Over time, Memorial Day evolved to honor all American military personnel who died in all wars, it was finally declared a federal holiday in 1971. People will visit cemeteries and memorials to pay their respects, participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 PM, and display the U.S. flag at half-mast until noon. It also is the unoffical start of summer.

Veterans Day, observed on November 11th each year, honors all military veterans, both living and deceased, who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Originally known as Armistice Day, it marked the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. In 1954, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day to honor all veterans. Unlike Memorial Day, which is a day of remembrance for those who died in service, Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor all who served honorably in the military, whether in wartime or peacetime. This is when we have celebrations, parades, ceremonies, and other events to honor all our veterans. It is A DAY to express gratitude to those who served and to listen and learn more about their experiences. But I challenge you to make an effort to go out of your way to shake a Veterans had and tell him THANK YOU. You never know you maybe the very 1st person they have ever heard it from.

There are so many stories of our fallen soldiers that have never been told except to the families. Here is one that I shared in 2023. You will see why it is so special to me.

Richard Alexandra Ware, known as “Dickie” to his friends and family, was a United States Army Specialist Five during the Vietnam War. On August 24, 1968, he bravely sacrificed his own life while protecting a group of fellow soldiers, and was awarded the Bronze Star.

Dickie and his fellow soldiers were on a reconnaissance mission in the Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam when they were ambushed by North Vietnamese troops. “While established in their night laager position, Company B came under an intense hostile attack. During the initial contact, Specialist Ware was thrown from his vehicle when it was struck by an RPG round. With complete disregard for his own safety, Specialist Ware exposed himself to a heavy volume of hostile fire as he moved back to the disabled vehicle to aid his wounded comrades. As he was evacuating a wounded comrade he was mortally wounded. His valorous actions contributed immeasurable to the success of the mission. Specialist Ware’s personal bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, Company B, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division and the United States Army.” As written for the presentation award of the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device (First Oak Leaf Cluster) to Specialist Five Richard A Ware. The wounded comrade the army mentions, Dickie evacuated him by throwing his unconscious friend to safety.

Richard Alexandra “Dickie” Ware’s legacy lives on as an exemplary example of courage, selflessness, and service to his country. It is with the utmost respect and gratitude that we honor his sacrifice and remember his bravery. His mother Inez Ware was instrumental in founding, raising money and signing the bill with Governor Kirk Fordice for the Veterans Memorial in Ocean Springs, MS when it opened in 1997.

Dickie is my brother and I am Gail Ware Randolph, President of KartHost LLC and I encourage you to learn more about Dickie at
Who is Wyatt Matters
The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial
And most recently Dickie is remembered on The Southern Voice by Janie Jenkins who describes the day the Ware family received the news of Dickie’s death from her view out the window of her classroom.
A Salute to an American Hero: Richard Alexandra Ware

Never let America forgot the sacrifices made for this Great Country. This is one family and community’s story. We know there is a big Wall full of them.

In Loving Memory
Written by Gail Randolph

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Derwyn Golden

I salute you and your memories Sergeant Alexandra for bravely serving our country and sacrificing your life to ensure our freedom. I am an Air Force veteran and served during the Vietnam Era. May God bless your family with Love Peace and Joy.

Gail Randolph

Thank you so much Dewyn. From my family a resounding “Welcome Home” and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. And we pray for God to Bless and Keep your family as well. Have a Safe a Blessed Memorial Day weekend.

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