From News Partner News Channel Nebraska
In 1969, three brothers from Niobrara served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. The Sage brothers all died going down with their ship off the coast of Vietnam, and the town is erecting a memorial in their honor.
Jim Scott, Commander of the Niobrara American Legion said, “It’s because we have been trying to get these names on for a lot of years now, on the Vietnam Wall, and we are running into problems all of the time. So, we thought we would start our own and have our own little wall here. At least we won’t forget the ones on there. We are still working to get them on the Vietnam wall.”
Gary, Greg, and Kelly Sage died alongside 71 fellow sailors, but are not on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. despite the soldiers’ sacrifice and the towns commitment to honoring them.
“The Pentagon says they were not killed in a combat area. They were doing maneuvers at the time getting ready to go drop shells into Vietnam, and that’s the reason,” said Scott. “They were 200 miles off of the closest point from Vietnam and they said they weren’t in a combat area.”
Jim Scott and the Niobrara American Legion are commemorating the Sage’s by expanding the town’s current memorial to include 2 more plaques with the 74 names of the men from across the country that died with the Sage brothers.
“They were like a family to the Sage boys, so they will all be together. The names will be here, and at least when people come here to this tourist town they will see the names on a wall, on a black granite wall like the Vietnam Wall is,” said Jim Scott.
The unveiling will be on Memorial Day in May and the ceremony will include survivors of the shipwreck paying tribute to their fallen comrades.