Honor isn’t just a word

Published 7:02 pm Thursday, November 11, 2021

Douglas McArthur once said, “Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”

David Smith of the Black Rock community, more commonly known as Spyder, enlisted into the United States Marine Corp when he was a senior at Luverne High School.

Although Smith’s first interaction with the U.S. Marines was influenced by the chance to get out of class to speak to a recruiter, skipping class, his time in the service grew to be an experience of great value for him.

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During the Vietnam War, Smith was stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station just across the river from Paris Island. He was a dispersing clerk and as soldiers returned home from Vietnam, Smith was one of the first faces they saw.

His unique perspective of the war was framed by the carnage he saw flooding from the returning soldiers’ tormented eyes and the mementos, yet cloistered, worrisome words that on occasion trickled from their mouths.

Smith regrets not keeping a diary throughout this time.

Smith forged friendships with many of the soldiers that he so proudly welcomed back home. He became close with many of them and is saddened that most of these dear friends have now passed away, some passing away at their own hands as their haunting memories of war would not cease.

During Smith’s three years in the U.S. Marines he reached the rank of E4. Throughout his time at the U.S. Marine Corps Air station, he experienced many alerts and was prepared to be sent to Vietnam at any given moment.

The alerts might last a couple of days or a couple of hours. The deafening roar of the jet afterburners, from the very aircrafts that would take Smith and other soldiers to Vietnam if ever an alert turned into a deployment, was a desolate reminder of the possibility of deployment, and of those already in battle.

The recent increase and display of patriotism and rise of showing respect and appreciation to our soldiers, is a welcoming occurrence to Smith and is a reminder that the nation will continue to endure. Smith said that we are supposed to be the greatest country in the world, and he is hoping our nation will one day be more deserving of that title.

“I love my country but I don’t trust my government. We can get to where we need to be, but it’s going to be hard,” Smith said.

Smith thinks that one of the most self-beneficial things a veteran can do is to find brotherhood in others that have served.

His father was a WWII vet and Smith’s son fought in Afghanistan and now is a disabled veteran. Smith has been a lifetime member of the U.S. Military Vets motorcycle club for 15 years now and said it is because of this club that he is able to deal with any pitfalls.

He hates to dwell on the bad memories and does not have a lot to say about the war experience when he is with his brothers of the U.S. Military Vets motorcycle club, as he did not face any wartime. However, Smith has always been a willing ear for those soldiers that need an outlet.

He said that veterans often need a lot of support and by being a group like the U.S. Military Vets motorcycle club that need can better be met.

Smith’s motorcycle club’s goal is to help other veterans’ organizations like the V.F.W. and American Legion. They also give back to the community in many ways via their benefit rides. One way in which they give back, is to help furnish needed items to soldiers in the V.A. Hospital.

Smith and his group provide things to the soldiers like underwear, socks, extra blankets, or other essentials they may need. According to Smith, many vets do not have family to help look after them and there are some needed items that the hospital does not supply.

More information about this group can be found at http://www.usmvmc.org/.

In 1991, Smith started Spyder’s Toy Run. It is a poker run style ride. The proceeds are given to DHR to help provide Christmas gifts to children that are in need.

This year’s event will take place Dec. 4 starting at 9:30 from Turner’s Park. There will also be a car/truck/bike show at the park sponsored by Crenshaw Koll Ridz Car Club.

Smith encourages anyone interested to come be part of this fun and beneficial event as a spectator or participant in the ride or car/truck/bike show.