PHOTO BY DAN STARCHER
Family members stand near the sign of the newly dedicated road segment, the PFC Roy Porter and LCpl Larry Porter Memorial Highway. From left, Roy Porter, nephew; Laura Beckelhimer, niece; Dotty, sister-in-law; and Jerry Porter, brother.
DALTON The war in Vietnam remains one of the most significant events in U.S. history. It claimed the lives of thousands of brave individuals throughout the 20-year conflict from 1955 to 1975. Among them were two brothers from Dalton, who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
According to honorstates.org, Marine Lance Corporal Larry Porter was killed on June 6, 1968, when the helicopter he was aboard was shot down in the Quang Tri province.
His brother, Marine Private First Class Roy Porter, died on August 31, 1969, through hostile action from artillery fire in the Quang Nam province, according to an article by Dan Starcher, public communications coordinator for the Wayne County government.
In recognition of their sacrifice, the Wayne County Commissioners read a proclamation during the recent dedication of a segment of W Lebanon Road from U.S. 30 to Goudy Road — now known as the LCpl. Larry Porter and Pvt. Roy Porter Memorial Highway.
“The sense of well-being, freedom, and love of country that we enjoy are the result of personal sacrifice and ongoing vigilance by the United States Armed Forces,” read Commissioner Sue Smail from the proclamation. “It is the government’s responsibility and privilege to honor and encourage everyone to respect those who have served throughout history, for they are our most precious asset.”
Jerry Porter, the oldest of the three Porter brothers, attended the dedication. He was also serving in Vietnam and was on board a helicopter to visit Larry when he was taken off the flight and
told that Larry had been killed.
“It was gut-wrenching news,” Jerry Porter recalled. “I came home soon after that, and a year later, Roy was killed over there. It was tough. Our mom died at 53, and I think the loss of two of
her sons may have contributed to her early death.”
Porter recalled growing up with his brothers in Dalton, and he described them as “outdoor types that spent a lot of time playing sports, hunting, and fishing” before each of them enlisted in
the military to serve their country.
While the void left behind in the hearts of the remaining family members can never be filled, this section of highway now serves as a memory of their heroism.
“This dedication really means a lot to me,” Porter said. “It means Roy and Larry will not be forgotten.”