Time for honoring, remembering heroes
Many Harrison Countians spent Memorial Day weekend like those across the nation: remembering those who have served their country.
On Saturday morning, Old Capitol VFW Post 2950 in Corydon conducted a service at Cedar Hill Cemetery in front of a memorial to all veterans that was dedicated a few years ago, while, in Elizabeth, residents had a parade and service on Monday.
The Rev. Don Hileman, pastor at Byrneville Community of Christ Church, took time before giving the invocation Saturday at Cedar Hill to publicly recall two friends of his ‘ Randall Duvall Jr. and Dale A. Lash ‘ who served in the military. Lash died in Vietnam.
‘We dedicate this program to these people and people like them,’ Hileman prayed. ‘Remember the purpose we’re gathered here.’
Charlene Wilkerson sang the national anthem before the guest speaker, Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis, came to the podium.
Davis reminded those gathered in the cemetery that Memorial Day was initially established as Decoration Day on May 5, 1868, and Major Gen. John Logan declared it should be observed on May 30. Then, in 1971, it was declared a national holiday.
Dog tags, the oath of enlistment, code of conduct and terrorism were covered in Davis’ speech.
He said that dog tags were issued to soldiers following the Civil War, when only 58 percent of those killed in action were positively identified. The tags, designed after dog licensing laws requiring dogs to wear a collar with the owner’s name and license number, were issued to soldiers by the time the United States entered World War I in 1917. The tags, two per soldier, were hand-stamped with their name, rank, serial number, unit and religion.
‘Every service member has taken an oath beginning with the Continental Army,’ Davis said. ‘The first constitutional oath in 1789 was very similar to the one used today. It has only changed once, in 1960.’
Davis read a few lines from the Code of Conduct for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, which include:
‘I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country an our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.’
Davis said, ‘Men and women of the armed services protect us and our way of life and are prepared to give their life for our country.’
He touched briefly on the existence of evil people.
‘Fortunately, there are relatively few,’ he said. ‘We should make every effort to avoid violence and war. However, in some very limited circumstances, we find we have no choice.
‘In those circumstances, men and women committed to support and defend and give their lives are there for us,’ he said.
Referring to last month’s killing of Osama bin Laden, Davis said the ‘world is a better place’ as a result of the Commander in Chief’s orders to conduct the mission.
‘The inscription on the World War II memorial is fitting: ‘Here we mark the price of freedom’,’ Davis concluded.
The names of those from Harrison County who made the ultimate sacrifice were read before the VFW post gave a 21-gun salute.
Elizabeth celebrates Memorial Day
Many of the floats in the Elizabeth parade Monday were decked out with American flags. Several of the spectators took up vantage points in the shade, and the snow-cone booth, as well as the South Central Rebels cheerleaders, were busy selling items designed to help those seeking to beat the heat.
Bob Walsh served as emcee as entries made their way west along S.R. 11 to the town’s four-way. For a non-election year, children had plenty of candy to scoop up as it was tossed by many of those in the parade.
Following the parade, members of the Hornickle American Legion post conducted a ceremony at Rose Hill Cemetery.
Lee Cable of Elizabeth talked about this year’s honored veteran, the Rev. Richard (Dick) Goodwin, who served as a corpsman in Vietnam.
‘Most of the people you see down here today have been involved with this event for the last 16 years, giving their time and effort to make this a program the community can be proud of, by going that extra mile to honor those who gave so much, and many who, like Dick, are still giving,’ Cable said. ‘Dick has led this program since its beginning, and I, for one, miss that leadership here today.’
Goodwin had already been a Navy Hospital Corpsman for more than five years and a was second-class petty officer when he served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.
‘He was assigned to the 1st Battalion 9th Marines, known throughout the Marine Corps as the ‘Walking Dead’,’ Cable said, ‘when the unit was under siege at Con Thien, known as the Hill of Angels.’
During the tour, Goodwin had to send home 137 Marines in body bags. The only reason he agreed to let Cable tell his story was to allow people to know that war is brutal. ‘It destroys young men in many ways, and there is no getting past the effects it has on survivors,’ Goodwin told Cable.
Goodwin, who serves as a chaplain for the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, gave his last sermon Sunday as pastor at the Presbyterian Church of the Convenant near Elizabeth; he is now retired.
‘Dick has told me more than once that he doesn’t want to be considered a hero,’ Cable said. ‘But that’s not up to him. We, the people of this community, do the deciding about heroes around here, and he’s certainly one of ours.’
Photos from Corydon service
Photos from Elizabeth parade