Lions honor local military heroes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2004

On a wet and overcast Thursday morning, the sounds of traffic filling the air, a solemn ceremony took place in front of the Greenville City Hall and the Butler County WW II Memorial.

It was Veterans Day. Local citizens, young and old, black and white, gathered to pay their respects to the men and women of America’s armed forces, past and present. The Butler County Veterans Remembrance Ceremony, sponsored by the Greenville Lions Club, was soon underway.

On the 11th day of the 11th month at precisely the 11th hour – the day and time of the 1918 signing of the armistice ending WW I – Lion Herbert Morton opened the remembrance ceremony, asking local Boy Scout David Foshee to present Old Glory for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rev. Fred Lindstrom from Saint Thomas Episcopal Church gave the invocation.

Morton introduced five veterans who represented their comrades from each of the most recent wars: Ed Jernigan, WW II; Dr. Don Snellgrove, Korean Conflict; Thurston Moseley, Viet Nam; Jimmy &uot;Butch&uot; Sims, Desert Storm and Larry Thompson, Iraq.

When Morton asked for those spectators who served during each of the wars to also raise their hands, several hands rose – some more than once – as the veterans proudly acknowledged their service to the nation.

Two special dedications were made during Thursday’s ceremony in honor of local fallen heroes.

&uot;We also want to recognize two gentlemen today. One name was inadvertently left off our monument, that of Hilary Jackson, Seamen First Class, USNR, who was killed in action on Dec. 13, 1944. His name will be added to our monument so he will receive equal honor with the rest of his fallen comrades,&uot; Morton explained.

&uot;We also have the honor to present this grave marker which is courtesy of the funds we collected for our memorial…the marker is for Private Barnes Dunn, USMC, who is buried in Magnolia Cemetery.

&uot;Private Barnes served in WW II, was wounded in action at Guadalcanal and later died from his wounds at a military hospital in California…for some reason, there was never a marker placed on his grave. This one will be placed on Private Barnes’ grave,&uot; said Morton.

Greenville High School senior Savannah Stacey read the poem, &uot;The Fallen&uot;, a tribute to the nation’s veterans who did not return. Rev. Lindstrom closed the ceremony with a prayer seeking protection and guidance for the men and women now serving in harm’s way overseas.

A remembrance wreath was laid at the foot of the county WW II memorial following the ceremony.

Desert Storm veteran Butch Sims gazed at the monument as fellow attendees milled around.

&uot;I am proud of my service to my country…it really gave me a different perspective after serving over there.

&uot;There were so many little things we are accustomed to here – say, a Coke machine on the corner when you’re thirsty – that you never saw or experienced over there,&uot; Sims mused.

When asked if he thought Americans took a great deal for granted, the veteran quickly nodded.

&uot;I’d say ‘yes’. We sure do.&uot;