Today's Nevada Daily Mail features an article on the recent ceremony presenting four medals, including the Purple Heart, to Jack Dimond of Lamar, honors which had been four decades in the making.
The article is written by former Neosho Daily News and Joplin Daily reporter Michelle Pippin for the Missouri National Guard:
The weight of guilt kept Dimond from pursuing the medals -- the guilt, he said, of being alive.
Dimond was drafted straight out of high school and was deployed to Vietnam in February 1969 with the U.S. Army infantry. During the fourth month of his tour, he was wounded.
"We had been without water for three or four hours, so when a helicopter dropped off supplies, we all stood up and rushed in," Dimond recalled. "There was a booby-trap planted under a bunch of metal inside a foxhole, and when it went off, metal flew everywhere."
The explosion killed 18 men. Dimond himself felt fortunate to have only lost a portion of his upper lip and two teeth.
"I've been blessed all my life with a wonderful Family and friends -- you name it -- but I've probably never been more blessed than I was on June 10, 1969, when that booby-trap went off and I survived," Dimond said. "The kid standing next to me was killed, and I'm still walking around."
(National Guard photo)