Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

TOP STORY >>Veterans recognized in area ceremonies

By JOAN MCCOY AND ALIYA FELDMAN
Leader staff writers

Some area communities have already celebrated Veterans Day with ceremonies, while others will do it this holiday weekend.
In Cabot, the day was sunny with only a mild breeze stirring, but the atmosphere was somber for the Veterans’ Day service held Friday morning in front of monuments displaying the names of many who have served in the armed forces.

The flags were lowered to half mast in honor of those who gave their lives in war and the key speakers from the American Legion, which hosted the event, talked about the apathy toward veterans’ sacrifices that is pervasive in today’s society.

“America is blessed because millions of men and women realized and still realize that nothing in their lives is as important as defending this nation,” said Vernon Bynum, American Legion state commander.

“For many veterans, it is important enough to endure separations from their families, miss the births of their children, freeze in sub-zero and endure 100-plus-degree temperatures, bake in wild jungles, lose limbs and, far too often, lose their lives.
“Sadly, their deeds are frequently unappreciated,” he said.

Allen Miller, American Legion Post 71 service officer and the master of ceremony for the service, called for a mandatory two years in military service for all young people, so when they are older and perhaps serving as lawmakers, they will understand what it is like to be a veteran. “We veterans and our friends can no longer be seduced by shining speeches on patriotic holidays,” Miller said.

Quoting President John F. Kennedy, he said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live them.”

Allan Wagner, a Vietnam veteran who has attended Veterans Day ceremonies for many years, said he does so because “it is important to honor these men who gave it all.”

“I like that saying, ‘There were a few who gave a lot for many,’” Wagner said. “I feel like it’s the least we can do.”

The Veterans Park property where the memorial took place was purchased in 1946. In 2000, monuments were erected there to honor the 105 Cabot War Veterans Memorial Association that purchased the Veterans Park property and to commemorate veterans who chose to have their names placed there to signify their duty to our country.

Other cities have scheduled Veterans Day ceremonies this weekend and early next week.


Beebe

American Legion Post 91 will hold a Veterans Day Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial across from the ASU-Beebe campus Monday at 11 a.m. Participants are welcome to enjoy snacks and refreshments at Beebe City Hall after the ceremony is over.
For more information call John at 593-1090. Beebe city and chamber offices will be closed Monday. Garbage pickup will be one day late.


Jacksonville

The military museum will show a film at 3:30 p.m. Sunday about a former LRAFB commander’s escape from the jungle after he was shot down by a Japanese fighter during World War II.

“Slightly Injured…Please Advise” is the story of Col. Charles O’ Sullivan’s crash-landing his P-38 in New Guinea in 1943 and the month he spent trying to escape.

Director and producer Josh Baxter and O’Sullivan will be on hand to answer questions after the film. Admission is $5, which will go toward future programs at the museum. For more information, call 241-1943.

In observance of the holiday, city offices will be closed. Garbage collection will be delayed one day.


Sherwood

A ceremony to honor veterans will take place at Sherwood Rotary Club’s Veterans Memorial at 1111 West Maryland Avenue Sunday at 2 p.m., when a wreath will be placed.

There will also be a battle re-enactment by the Trans Mississippi Volunteer Infantry of Pine Bluff replete with two canons and simulated gunfire. Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman, Alderman Butch Davis and decorated war veteran Walter Barnhardt are scheduled to attend.  

The ceremony will include a prayer, the singing of the National Anthem, placing of the wreath, words from Hillman, roll call of the bricks purchased in 2007 and ending with echoing Taps.

The ceremony will be the first held at the memorial that was dedicated on Memorial Day last year. The memorial consists of engraved bricks, which were purchased by family and friends of war veterans. A display of the U.S., Arkansas and P.O.W./M.I.A. flags will be illuminated in the evening.

“We have 50 more bricks to add to the existing ones on the memorial,” Alderman Butch Davis said, adding, “The memorial will be a continually growing project for the Rotary Club and city of Sherwood.”  

Bricks to add to the next phase of the memorial may be purchased for $100.

For more information or to purchase a brick, contact Alderman Butch Davis at 416-7577 or 835-3909.


Searcy

In Searcy, a Veterans Day ceremony will be held on the east side of the White County Courthouse. VFW Post 2330 and American Legion Post 457 will both participate in the ceremony.

Lincoln Ladies will provide music and veteran Lt. Travis Goodwin will speak.

The White County Courthouse will be closed.

In other closures, the Lonoke County Courthouse will not be open Monday. No change in garbage collection is expected in Cabot, Lonoke, Ward or Austin.