COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - One Lugoff family has a combined 75 plus years of experience in the armed forces.
The Dowey’s joined the community for Columbia’s 41st Annual Veterans Day Parade. It’s a tradition in their family, but their tradition of service runs deeper.
Arne, Terry and Sam Dowey all served in the Vietnam War in the 1970s. Not only do these three men share the brotherhood of fighting for our country, they say it’s a family tradition to serve.
Arne and Terry Dowey, who are brothers, both served in the Navy. Sam Dowey, their cousin, served in the Army.
Sam served on the ground in Vietnam in 1970 and 1971, Terry served at the coast in 1974 and 1975, and Arne served from 1972 to 1975.
The three Doweys said serving in Vietnam was some of their fondest memories.
“Young and innocent,” Sam Dowey said. “20 years old in Vietnam. Hadn’t been nowhere, hardly. Except Lugoff, South Carolina.”
The list of people who served in the Dowey family started before them.
“I had four brothers that were in the armed forces, plus myself. Numerous cousins,” Sam said.
Terry added: “It’s a family tradition to keep carrying on. It’s a big deal.”
Part of that tradition starts by attending the Columbia Veterans Day Parade, to wave their American flags loud and proud.
“I like to see all the veterans all around too and when we’re here we see all the school kids bring you a little note. That’s touching,” Sam said.
The Dowey’s said it is humbling when people walk up to shake their hands, thanking them for their service.
“It gives you a good feeling knowing that people haven’t forgotten about the people that served, and can honestly say live in a free world, and their own religion," Terry said. “But to me, if I had to do it again, I’d do it all over.”
Monday marked the 41st year of Columbia’s parade honoring our veterans.