News and Tribune

June 9, 2013

SET IN STONE: Fallen Vietnam veteran’s name added to memorial

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

As his sibling’s name was being inscribed in stone, Virgil Deckard said to himself that he could do no more for his departed brother. 

But through his efforts, David “Larry” Deckard’s sacrifice for his country has been memorialized in Washington, D.C., as well as in his native community. 

On May 22, Larry Deckard’s name was added to a memorial marker adjacent to the Harrison County Courthouse in Corydon. 

Larry Deckard was seriously injured in Vietnam when a rocket struck an armored personal carrier he was driving. He was the only one in the carrier that survived the attack, but he was left paralyzed and was restricted to using a wheelchair for the rest of his life. 

Larry Deckard suffered lung damage, and shrapnel remain lodged in his chest. In 2006, at the age of 57, he died after a long and difficult struggle that was spawned by his wounds. 

The official medical report cited the combat injuries as a primary cause for his early death. 

With diligence and dedication, Virgil Deckard pushed to have his brother’s name added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and on Memorial Day 2012, Larry Deckard’s name was inscribed on the wall. 

But Virgil Deckard — who is also a Vietnam veteran — didn’t stop there. He petitioned the Harrison County Commissioners to have his brother’s name added to the Corydon memorial stone, and with persistence, his efforts paid off. 

“It changed my family. It changed a lot of families,” Virgil Deckard said of the Vietnam War. 

Virgil Deckard resides near Greenville, and his family, including his late brother, have many ties to New Albany and Floyd County. He said it’s comforting for him and his family to be able to visit a memorial honoring his brother without having to drive to Washington, D.C. 

Unfortunately, Larry Deckard’s death wasn’t the only tragedy that struck the family. 

Virgil Deckard’s son, Matthew Deckard, was killed in Iraq just a few months before Larry Deckard passed away. Matthew Deckard was driving a tank that was blasted by an improvised exploding device. He was 29 years old. 

Virgil Deckard said it’s important to remember the sacrifices veterans make, and to honor those that have fallen in the line of combat or due to wartime injuries. 

“This was a great way to honor him,” he said.