Veteran gives inspirational speech during Patriotic Ceremony

Vietnam veteran Lt. Clebe McClary speaks during the Patriotic Celebration at Darlington Presbyterian Church, 311 Pearl St., on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

Vietnam veteran Lt. Clebe McClary stands with the plaque which was presented to him Wednesday night, June 28, 2023, at the Patriotic Celebration, as Pastor Kevin Cauley looks on. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

Deanna McClary (left) stands with her husband, Lt. Clebe McClary (right) at the POW-MIA Memorial at the Veterans Memorial Park, Public Square in Darlington on Wednesday afternoon, June 28, 2023. Lt. McClary was in town to speak at the Patriotic Celebration, held at Darlington Presbyterian Church, located at 311 Pearl St., in Darlington. Lt. McClary shared many memories of old friends, including his friendship with James Elliott Williamson, the most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the United States Navy, to whom there is a special separate monument in the Park. PHOTO BY STEPHAN DREW

By Stephan Drew, Editor

The Darlington Presbyterian Church was filled with a sense of reverence and patriotism as Vietnam Veteran 1st Lt. USMC Clebe McClary took to the stage to deliver an inspirational speech at the Patriotic Celebration. The event, held on Wednesday evening, was attended by a diverse audience, including veterans, community members, and local officials. McClary, a true American hero, shared his remarkable story of bravery, resilience, and faith, leaving a lasting impact on all those present.

In his speech, McClary recounted the life-altering moment during the Vietnam War when he lost his left arm, left eye, and suffered severe injuries to his right hand in a mortar and grenade attack. Amidst the chaos and pain, he fervently prayed, “If I can just see my men get off that hill. If I can just see my bride one more time.” This powerful plea exemplified his unwavering dedication to his fellow soldiers and his deep love for his wife, Deanna.

As McClary stood before the audience, he acknowledged the presence of his beloved wife and expressed his gratitude for God’s blessings in his life. He spoke passionately about the opportunities available in America and the promise and grace of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. His words resonated deeply with the audience, reminding them of the values that make the United States a beacon of hope and freedom.

Throughout his speech, McClary emphasized the importance of resilience in the face of adversity. He shared, “After our many life experiences, we either get bitter or we get better.” His words served as a poignant reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always an opportunity for growth and strength. McClary’s own journey is a testament to this philosophy, as he overcame immense physical and emotional challenges to become an inspiration to others.

The Patriotic Celebration also included a touching tribute to the colors of all U.S. military branches, symbolizing the unity and sacrifice of those who have served. The event further honored all veterans in the audience, recognizing their contributions and bravery. It was a moment of profound gratitude and respect for those who have defended the nation’s ideals and protected its citizens.

McClary’s presence at the event was a testament to the resilience and spirit of America’s veterans. His story, filled with sacrifice and determination, left an indelible mark on the hearts of those in attendance. The audience was reminded of the sacrifices made by countless individuals who have served in the armed forces, ensuring the freedom and security that we enjoy today.

As the evening drew to a close, the audience left with a renewed sense of patriotism and admiration for those who have selflessly served their country. McClary’s words served as a reminder that the American spirit is unyielding, and that even in the face of adversity, there is always hope for a brighter future.

The Patriotic Celebration at Darlington Presbyterian Church was a true testament to the power of community, faith, and gratitude. It united people from all walks of life in a shared appreciation for the sacrifices made by veterans and the values that define America. Lt. Clebe McClary’s inspirational speech will undoubtedly continue to resonate with those who had the privilege of hearing his remarkable story, reminding them of the strength of the human spirit and the enduring legacy of those who have served their country.

Author: Stephan Drew

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