Posted on

Memorial Day services remember living, dead

Harrison Countians had the opportunity to attend two Memorial Day programs during the holiday weekend, one in Corydon and the other in Elizabeth.
On Saturday, members of VFW Old Capitol Post 2950 and the Ladies Auxiliary conducted a service on the Corydon town square. The program included a bagpiper, a bugler, a gun salute and a speech by Harrison Superior Judge Roger D. Davis.
Davis said he was pleased to speak again on a day set aside to honor those, who in the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘gave the last full measure of devotion.’
A former military man himself, Davis reminded the small crowd that Memorial Day evolved from the tradition of honoring those servicemen who died in the Civil War.
‘It is now a day to remember those who gave their lives in all wars,’ he said.
Using tidbits from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address to spawn thinking, Davis said the 16th president urged the living to complete the unfinished work and the great task remaining.
‘Some of you probably have friends or relatives we are here to remember today,’ he said. ‘Perhaps you fought alongside a fallen comrade or lost a family member or friend.
‘Some experiences in life are never forgotten and well deserve a special time for reflection and remembrance,’ he said. ‘No matter how many years have gone by, no matter how far around the world, no matter the name of the war, it may seem like yesterday. It could be World War II, Korea or Vietnam. This day, we join together to honor all who gave their lives for their country.’
From there, Davis’ speech turned into a one-sided debate about the war in Iraq.
‘We are now divided in our opinions about the war in Iraq and what to do about it,’ he said. ‘Everyone has an opinion. It seems like most of the talking heads on TV didn’t know what they were talking about before and don’t know what they are talking about now …
‘I am certain few have ever experienced the religious passion and fervor of the Middle East and underestimated how effectively it could be used by the warring factions and terrorists.’
As someone who was stationed in the Middle East for 16 months, Davis said he guessed he was as much as an expert as many of the people on TV.
‘From my personal observations and study, I think it clear that terrorists were not in Iraq but came after we toppled Saddam Hussein’s government,’ he said.
‘Finally, I think our foreign policy in the Middle East, primarily since World War II, under nearly all Republican and Democratic presidents has helped to create the situation we find in Iraq. Our foreign policy in the region has been mostly ill advised and short sided.’
In conclusion, Davis said there is one constant, regardless of what politicians and generals decide: ‘The troops do their job whatever it is and whatever the circumstances. They salute, say, ‘Yes, sir,’ and do their duty.
‘Many have paid the ultimate price,’ Davis said. ‘In our current wars, our troops and their families are paying the price and nothing is required from the rest of us. Whatever differences of opinion we may have, we all feel the same about the sacrifices of our troops. Today, we remember, we recall, we honor. We remember their sacrifice. We recall their courage. We honor them from the bottom of our heart, now and always.’
Click for photo gallery
At Elizabeth’s Memorial Day celebration, the tradition continued of honoring a local veteran who served their country. This year, Marcell Schoen, who fought in World War II, and three of his sons were selected. Two sons served in Vietnam and the third was in Desert Storm.
The elder Schoen joined the Navy in 1943, during World War II, when he was 17. While stationed in Guam, his unit had the task of setting up a hospital for the wounded and building roads to the hospital so supplies could be received.
His three sons ‘ Rodney, Roger and Robin ‘ voluntarily enlisted in the service.
Rodney joined the Seabees in 1966 and was sent to Vietnam, where his unit built roads, bridges, ammunition depots for the Marines and a 58-acre helicopter pad.
Roger joined the Marines and saw combat in Vietnam. That’s where he was wounded in 1969.
Robin, the youngest of the three brothers, joined the service ‘ the 82nd Airborne ‘ in 1986. His unit was among the first American troops to arrive in Saudi Arabia to fight in Desert Storm.
The four Schoens served as grand marshals during the annual parade on Monday and were awarded special recognition by the U.S. Postal Service. Marcell is a retired local mail carrier, and son Robin is employed at the Louisville Post Office.
Click for photo gallery
Information for this story was also gathered by Clarion News Staff Writer Lee Cable.