This web site serves to keep alive the story of Niles Harris, an unassuming U.S. Army vet from Deadwood, South Dakota. On November 8, 1965, the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Operation Hump in War Zone D in Vietnam, were ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong. 48 American soldiers fighting with Harris lost their lives that day. So each year on the 8th of November, Harris puts on a suit and tie, and has a drink out of respect for is fallen brothers.
In 2005, the country duo Big & Rich released their song “8th of November”, which they wrote and recorded after striking up a friendship with Harris. A year later, Prilosec OTC teamed up with Big & Rich to honor our nation’s heros, joining them on their summer tour. After Big & Rich developed a 50-minute documentary on the story and the making of “8th of November”, Prilosec promoted it on their product packaging and included a DVD in the box.
This is how I came to know of the story. This web site, 8thofnovember.com, was referenced in the Prilosec packaging. When I came back to the site a year or two later, it was gone. So I quickly registered 8thofnovember.com so that I could make sure this story carries on.
We do a pretty nice job of saluting our veterans these days. When our heroes return from their courageous service to our country, we give them the honor and respect that they deserve. But we didn’t do that for our Vietnam vets. Their treatment upon returning home was so bad, that their superiors instructed them to change out of their uniforms at the airport so that no one would know who they are. Imagine that happening today.
So this web site is my tribute to Niles Harris and specifically our veterans of the Vietnam war. I don’t know Harris, but I join him by wearing a special tie on the 8th of November each year. There’s nothing we can do to make up for how we treated them, but a small gesture sure is a good start.
“Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for his brother.”