Special to the
Monday, May 29, at 10 a.m., the Opelika will host its annual Memorial Day Services to remember our military heroes who fought for the freedom of our country. The event will be held at the Veterans Memorial Monument in front of Opelika’s City Hall, located at 204 South 7th Street in downtown Opelika. A special POW-MIA remembrance ceremony presented by the American Legion.
This year’s special guest speaker is Vann Daughtry. Daughtry was born and raised in Opelika. His early years of education were in the Opelika schools, starting at Pepperell and graduating from Opelika High School.
Daughtry joined the army in 1965 and attended basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga. He then went on to Airborne Infantry Training at Ft. Ord, Calif. While in the army he was initially an infantry paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft. Bragg, N.C., then with 1st of 508th Airborne in Germany. He began a tour in Vietnam in November 1967. On December 21, 1967 while on patrol he was gravely wounded losing a portion of his right leg in a land mine explosion. Daughtry was awarded the Purple Heart. He returned to Ft Gordon, Ga. in early 1968 where he was medically retired at the young age of twenty-one in August 1968.
Education became an important part of Daughtry’s life. He attended Opelika Trade School for business studies, transferring to Southern Union State Community College to earn an Associate Degree in Business. Later he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Troy State University. While pursuing his education, he worked at West Point Pepperell before beginning a career at Uniroyal-Michelin Tire Manufacturing Company. He retired in 2002 after 31 years.
Daughtry served as a scout master for Boy Scout Troop 15 in Auburn for five years. He also worked with many young men and women in the football, basketball, baseball and softball programs of the Auburn Recreation Department.
Following retirement he became and remains active in various civic and veterans service organizations. Currently, Daughtry serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Four Seasons Federal Credit Union; Adjutant of Nolen-Smith-Kirkland American Legion Pepperell Post #152; District Commander of the 24th District of the American Legion Department of Alabama; and Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of Alabama.
Daughtry and his wife of almost 50 years, the former Judy Banks, live in Auburn, Ala. They have three children; Daralyn Daughtry Elkins, David Daughtry and Derek Daughtry, and nine grandchildren ranging in ages 10 to 25 years of age.
Following Memorial Day services, the Museum of East Alabama will host a reception for the public so that folks can view the extraordinary memorabilia of Opelika’s history. Please join your fellow citizens this Memorial Day as they pay tribute to those military heroes who paid the ultimate price in America’s various wars.
In case of rain, the 10 a.m. services will be moved to the City Council Chambers inside City Hall.