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Op-Ed: Vietnam Vet Gets His Due Respect

State Rep. Tom Murt shares the importance of recognizing the late Harold E. Cashman Jr., of Hatboro, who died during the Vietnam War.

By Thomas P. Murt

It has taken more than 40 years, but on Sept. 22 our community will finally honor local hero and Hatboro resident, SP4 Harold E. Cashman, Jr., for the ultimate sacrifice he made in the Vietnam War. 

On that day, I will be commemoratively dedicating Warminster Road between East County Line and Byberry roads as the SP4 Harold E. Cashman, Jr. Memorial Highway. This dedication is an honorary one and will not change the name of Warminster Road.  

Hatboro is like many other communities across America in that it hasn’t been as gracious to its Vietnam veterans as it should have been. Our country allowed our Vietnam veterans to come home to an ungrateful nation that was openly hostile towards them. To this day, the federal government still makes our Vietnam veterans grovel for the VA benefits they deserve and have rightly earned from their exposure to chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange. 

Some of America’s best, brightest, and bravest men and women fought in Vietnam and served with great honor. Some never returned, yet have never received so much as a thank you or acknowledgment of their sacrifice. One of these young men who served and died in Vietnam was Hatboro’s Harold E. Cashman from Corinthian Avenue. He is one of seven men from Hatboro who died in the Vietnam War. 

Harold, or Eddie, as he was known by his family and friends, grew up in Hatboro, just a block off of Warminster Road. This is the section of the road chosen to honor him. 

He graduated from Hatboro-Horsham High School in 1962 and was attending Delaware Valley College in Doylestown prior to being drafted into the U.S. Army. Cashman loved to bowl with his parents and sister, Judy, at the old Hatboro Bowling Alley on Jacksonville Road. He also enjoyed skiing, and liked to visit relatives in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to take advantage of the great skiing in Dutchess County. He was on the golf team at Hatboro-Horsham High School and also worked at Jefferson’s Drug Store in Hatboro. He was studying Ornamental Horticulture at Delaware Valley College and talked about opening a commercial nursery with his dad after the war. 

Like most of the men and women who served in Vietnam, Cashman was just an average guy who was doing his duty. He did not volunteer to go to Vietnam, but patriotically responded to his country’s call. Despite being only six credits short of graduation from Delaware Valley College, Cashman never sought a student deferment like many others, but instead, loyally reported when he received his draft notice. His mother once said that he never even complained about his being sent to Vietnam or about the Army. 

Cashman served in Vietnam as an infantryman with C CO, 1ST BN, 12TH CAVALRY, 1ST CAV DIV, USARV. His tour began in August of 1967. He was killed in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, in the early days of the Tet Offensive on Jan. 31, 1968.

After an especially vicious firefight with the Viet Cong, Cashman had been missing in action before his body was finally recovered days later. He died of multiple fragmentation wounds. Accounts of his death state that he died while laying down suppressive fire with his weapon so his fellow soldiers could seek cover from a particularly brutal Viet Cong assault. Cashman is buried with his parents at Whitemarsh Memorial Park in the Prospectville section of Horsham Township.

The public is cordially invited to attend this dedication for Cashman on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. The ceremony will be held in the front parking lot of St. John Bosco Church, 235 East County Line Road, Hatboro. Cashman’s surviving family members will be attending, as will his classmates from the class of 1962 at Hatboro-Horsham High School. Everyone is encouraged to wear red, white and blue in his honor. 

Cashman will no longer be forgotten by the greater Hatboro community. People using Warminster Road will be reminded that a young man named Eddie Cashman lived nearby, bravely served in Vietnam and gave his life in the defense of freedom. 

Scripture tells us that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John, 15:13). Cashman went one better: he laid down his life not just for his fellow soldiers, but for complete strangers. Cashman may have been just a regular guy from Hatboro, but there is nothing ordinary about the sacrifice he made in the Vietnam War. After Sept. 22, he will no longer be forgotten by his hometown, as a small piece of Warminster Road will bear his name. 

Rep. Thomas P. Murt serves the 152nd Legislative District. He is a combat veteran of the war in Iraq having served with the 4th Infantry Division. The 152nd Legislative District includes Hatboro, Lower Moreland and Upper Moreland townships, as well as Bryn Athyn, portions of Upper Dublin Township, and the Philmont Heights section of Northeast Philadelphia.

Neuman September 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Awesome. Should have never taken this long.

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