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Remembering the past and fallen

Remembering the past and fallen
Remembering the past and fallen
D. John Thomas speaks at Saturday morning’s memorial service at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Corydon. The annual program is sponsored by VFW Old Capitol Post 2950 in Corydon. Photo by Brandon Mullens (click for larger version)

The sun was bright and the cool breeze gave the American flags at Cedar Hill Cemetery a wave Saturday morning as more than 50 people gathered and honored their fallen and current soldiers in a memorial ceremony.
The ceremony was introduced by William (Bill) Rudey, commander of VFW Old Capitol Post 2950 in Corydon. Rudey, 64, who gave 22 years of his life to the Army, helped plan the ceremony.
‘The biggest thing is getting everything ready, and it really excites you because you know it’s comin’,’ Rudey said. ‘It’s also exciting to know that Harrison County has so many veterans from all the different wars.’
After Rudey’s introduction, everyone sang the National Anthem, followed by a prayer given by the Rev. Adam Roe, 37, pastor of Corydon United Methodist Church.
D. John Thomas, the superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp. and a war veteran, was the guest speaker and said he didn’t feel any pressure at all. He delivered a speech to the crowd surrounded by the familiar colors of red, white and blue.
Thomas opened his speech with three distinct words: ‘Duty. Honor. Country.’
‘Those three hallowed words dictate what the American veteran has been, still is and will continue to be for all Americans to follow,’ Thomas said. ‘Our American fighting men and women have held and do hold the nation’s destiny in their hands.’
Thomas gave a brief history of war similar to what would be seen in a history book. Starting from the Battle of Lexington and Concord, continuing on to the Battle of Gettysburg, to the famous ‘date which will live in infamy’ and the terror and reign of Adolf Hitler, along with the Nazi occupation of Poland and nightmares of genocides, followed by ‘bringing the communists back above the 38th Parallel’ and, finally, to ‘the rice patties and jungles of a place called Vietnam.’
Thomas, 65, also took the time to acknowledge and recognize the leaders who led the country to numerous victories during the wars such as Gens. Douglas MacArthur and George Patton and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
‘Within days of Roosevelt’s inauguration, no fewer than half a million people had written letters to the White House urging him on, ‘Yours is the first opportunity to carve a name in the halls of immortals besides Jesus’,’ Thomas said.
Thomas also stated that ‘George Patton, probably, in my opinion, is of the best examples of an American hero.’
To support that statement, Thomas said, ‘During the course of World War II, Patton and his warriors had given a magnificent performance. Third Army had gone farther, faster, conquered more territory, killed, wounded and captured more enemy soldiers than any other Army in the recorded history of war. There’s a hero.’
‘I thought the history that Mr. Thomas brought up was very important in explaining why sometimes people have to go do the fighting that they do,’ Roe said. ‘It’s important for us to remember from time to time that God gives us people who do the fighting that is necessary to do, and the examples that were given were outstanding.’
Thomas finished his speech with some last inspiring words.
‘As they have honored us through their service and devotion, let us honor them in thoughts, our prayers and our hearts, today and throughout all of our free tomorrows,’ he said.
After Thomas’ history lesson, Rudey read the names of the soldiers from Harrison County who sacrificed their lives to fight for freedom. He mentioned quite a few, including a Revolutionary War soldier buried in New Middletown whose name is unknown.
To cap off the ceremony, the crowd sang ‘God Bless America.’ To lift their spirits and to show gratitude to their fallen soldiers and their country, there was a salute of gunfire and the famous American musical piece ‘TAPS’ or ‘Day Is Done.’
‘I feel proud to be an American,’ Thomas said.