I wanted to share this story on November 8th but tracking down the back-story about the event delayed my posting until now.
I’ll admit that if it wasn’t for local radio DJ, Bear O’Brian at Kissin 99.3, I wouldn’t have known about the day myself. He took just enough time to educate listeners about what happened on that day for members of the 173rd Airborne and share the story behind country music duo Big & Rich’s song, 8th of November. I knew then that I wanted to learn more so I could share with you.
“On November 8th, 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump, War Zone D in Vietnam were ambushed by over 1200 V.C. Forty-eight American soldiers lost their lives that day. Severely wounded and risking his own life, Lawrence Joll, a medic, was the first living black man since the Spanish-American War to receive the United States Medal of Honor for saving so many lives in the midst of battle that day. Our friend, Nialls Harris, retired 25 years, United States Army (the guy who gave Big Kenny his top hat) was one of the wounded who lived. This song is his story. Caught in the action of ‘kill or be killed’ – ‘greater love hath no man to lay down his life for a friend.’
Visit my page History in a Song for the lyrics to 8th of November.