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“They cut off funding to the South Vietnamese Army, and we ended up being defeated, and that’s really very relevant to what’s happening right now,” Col. Day said.

Col. Day worked throughout his life, accepting an appointment to head the 35-employee Okaloosa County Public Defender’s Office in 2009 at the age of 83 after the Panhandle circuit’s newly elected public defender asked him to take the job as a personal favor.

• Melissa Nelson-Gabriel reported from Pensacola, Fla.