By Teri Cayton
The Parsons Advocate
A beautiful Saturday afternoon greeted a large crowd of spectators for the rededication of the Veteran’s Memorial on the Tucker County Courthouse square Saturday, Sept. 7.
The day was beautiful, sunny and warm, as a group gathered in front of the Tucker County Court House for the rededication of the Veteran’s Memorial. A large group of veterans was in attendance as well as family members of those lost in battle from World War I, World War II, The Korean War, and the war in Vietnam.
Reverend Phil Dent of St. John’s Methodist Church, opened the ceremony by thanking the veterans for their service and sacrifices. City of Parsons,Mayor Dorothy Judy said the Council was very happy to be able to contribute to the restoration of the monument.
County Commissioner, Diane Hinkle spoke words from the heart when she said, “It was a labor of love for the veterans to restore this monument. I commend the veterans for taking the time to make this monument a place of reflection and also a place where family members can come to remember those that were lost. There is no better way to use taxpayer money to give tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.”
County Commissioner, Lowell Moore was in attendance and said, “I want to thank the veterans and the Veterans Association for their hard work and dedication in the completion of the Memorial restoration. The Memorial had severely deteriorated in the past 65 plus years. Thanks to our veteran’s hard work, and the support from many entities, The City of Parsons, County Commission, many individuals and Watring Stone Construction, the Memorial is now a beautiful historic site for Parsons and Tucker County, and a place of Honor for our veterans.
“There are two things that are priceless, freedom and life. We enjoy our freedom today because of the unselfish service of our brave service men and women, past and present, many of them have provided this freedom with the loss of their life. I personally want to offer my heartfelt Thank You to all veterans for their priceless service.”
Tucker County Clerk, Sherry Simmons said, “Living in Tucker County, we are all like a big family and I thank the veterans for their service.”
The guest speaker was Brig. General Michael G. Lee, Air Force, (retired), who has an extensive service record with 31 years of active service. He was a fighter pilot for 25 years and after 9-11 he became an intelligence officer and provided maps and images for troops. He was deployed for 22 months to Afghanistan and Iraq during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. During the last three years of service he was assigned as Military Executive at the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. Lee has received the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star. His family has a home in Canaan and said when he finally retires for good he plans to live there on a full time basis.
Lee said, “I commend the veterans for all their hard work and dedication. Also for their service to our country I salute those that did not make it back.”
Veteran Charles Showalter, said. “I am proud that the monument stayed where it is. I want the future to know what the wall and this monument means and represents.”
Steve Watring, of SW Stone Masonry, worked on restoring the stonework on the monument and put some very interesting touches on it. In the upper right hand corner and the left lower corner he placed stones in the shape of a heart. In the center of the plaques the stones are in the shape of a cross. Watring stated, “I felt very honored to work on this monument. I thank every name on these plaques for what they did for our freedom.”
Danny Barkley, who provided the sound equipment for the services, thanked everyone for coming out and gave a heartfelt thanks to the names on the plagues for their sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty.
Lois Jean Lantz Lambert, of Parsons, had a picture of her dad, SFC Charles W. Lantz, who died in Vietnam on March 17, 1967, just days away from his 32nd birthday. She said the troops in his squad gave him a birthday party just before his last mission where Lantz was quoted as saying, “If I go in this mission at least I will go happy.” That was the mission where he gave the greatest sacrifice.
Work on the Memorial was also provided by Jimmy Judy who sandblasted and powder coated the plaques, Bill Dilly for the lighting, R&R Remodeling and Tim Harris, of Appalachian Signs, did the woodwork surrounding the top. It was great teamwork from everyone involved in the project.
Reverend Dent closed the ceremony with thanks to everyone, including the veterans, both in attendance and those who were lost.