Elette Cooper honored by fellow veterans during parade

Published 8:55 am Friday, July 18, 2014

A Navy veteran of World War II and the oldest active member of Bogalusa’s American Legion Magic City Post 24 and the Louisiana Department of the American Legion, John Elette Cooper passed away June 26, 2014.

He would have reached his 100th birthday in August and had been selected by American Legion Post 24 to be co-grand marshal of its annual Fourth of July parade.

A native of Bogalusa and Citizen of the Year for Bogalusa in 1992, he was further recognized as the city celebrated its Centennial on July 4, as he was named Bogalusa’s Citizen of the Century.

To further honor the Navy veteran and his many years of service to the country and activities of Post 24, he was represented in the parade with a riderless horse.

A longtime tradition at Arlington National Cemetery and likely a historical first for a community Bogalusa’s size, the deceased member of the armed forces had a riderless horse escorted to the burial ground, equipped with his saddle, helmet, boots and sword.

Members of Post 24 thought it would be a fitting way to honor Cooper in the Fourth of July parade.

Brad Williams, a former Marine and a member of Post 24, rode aboard the escort horse, providing both horses for the solemn event.

Williams reported observing many citizens watching the parade expressing much emotion and tears during the ride. Members of the Legion feel this is a well-deserved response for a true hero and one of the most highly respected citizens of Bogalusa and members of Post 24.

He will be sorely missed by his fellow Legionnaires.