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MILLERSBURG -- It was an emotional afternoon Tuesday, March 21, on South School Street, as Village Administrator Nate Troyer and the Honor Guard from the Millersburg American Legion Post No. 192 presented the honorary plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of Larry Barton's death in Vietnam.
A small crowd at the corner of East Adams and South School streets, the location of the sign was selected because of its proximity to the home in which Barton grew up and in which his sister, Pat Hanna, and her husband, Tom, still live.
"He had a lot of friends. I'm not surprised so many people showed up today," Pat Hanna said. "I wish I had the nerve to stand up and tell everyone how much this means to me."
Lynn Carpenter, one of four brothers from A Company who served with Barton, said how much it meant to him.
"To me, we're at the first of spring and this used to be a nice glorious time," Carpenter said. "But now, more and more, it brings back memories of Larry and his loss. Every year at this time, I can't help but think of him."
Carpenter was joined by Don Reed, Dennis Harford and Benny Martin, who were all members of A Company with Barton.
"This is pretty special for all of us," Harford said. "We think about him a lot."
"It's long overdue for the boy. It's 50 years he's been gone and killed," said Barton's brother-in-law, Tom Hanna. "Everybody knew him in school. It's long overdue for everybody. We appreciate what the village has done, especially Nate (Troyer). And we'd like to thank everybody for coming out."
Barton, a SP4/E4 with the U.S. Army's Selective Service began his tour on Sept. 22, 1966. He was killed March 21, 1967, in Tay Ninh, South Vietnam. Barton also is memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, Panel 16E -- Line 128, in Washington, D.C.
Hanna contacted Troyer about a year ago to inquire about such a project.
"We worked on this project that turned out to mean a lot more to me than I thought it would," Troyer said. "I want to thank all the veterans that are here. Thank you for your service. It means an awful lot to us, more than we can express.
"This being the 50th anniversary of Larry's casualty in Vietnam, I am going to unveil the sign and place the flags," he continued.
Hanna added that he also appreciates the more recent local celebrations of local Vietnam veterans, including a display in the Holmes County Common Pleas Courtroom and recognition in the 2016 Early American Days parade in Killbuck, which culminated in a program and display, honoring the veterans, and display at the Killbuck Valley Museum.
Holmes County Judges Tom Lee and Andrew Hyde and many Holmes County officials were on hand for the event.
Judge Lee thanked Pat Hanna for her brother's service.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.