Memorial Day recognized at Poole’s Bluff ceremony

Published 4:28 am Saturday, June 2, 2018

Amid fears of inclement weather from Tropical Storm Alberto, the Washington Parish Republican Executive Committee (WRPEC) conducted its sixth annual Memorial Day program honoring fallen veterans at Poole’s Bluff Nature Park Monday.

In what turned out to be sunny and breezy weather, more than 70 people turned out for a commemorative service honoring fallen heroes. Becky Crain and Debbie Miley led the patriotic singing, including the national anthem. Pastor Scott Breland of Plainview Baptist Church offered the invocation, calling attention to an empty chair displayed to remind everyone of POW’s and those still missing and unaccounted for. Ninety-eight-year-old World War II veteran Ubert Terrell led the pledge of allegiance.

Sandra Stewart, mother of David “Bear” Stewart, presented a wreath at the monument that honors her son — a victim of the war on terror. Joining in the presentation was Ret. Cmdr. John Wells, U.S. Navy, the program guest speaker.

Wells, an attorney who advocates for veterans in his practice and before Congress, spoke of those who have fallen and noted that half of the soldier deaths recorded in American history occurred during the civil war.

“We need to unify as Americans,” he said. “Some say our divisions in America are even greater now than at the time of the civil war. We must unite as Americans and put aside our differences. We must end the protests of our President and our nation.”

Wells politely declined the opportunity to be honored by the New Orleans Saints, last year, due to flag and anthem protests.

At each Memorial Day event, veterans in attendance are recognized. But this time, the Vietnam veterans were presented medals “on behalf of a grateful nation.” As a partner of the Department of Defense, the WRPEC is tasked with identifying and thanking Vietnam servicemen and their families. Medals were presented to 40 Vietnam veterans in attendance.

The American Legion Post 24 Honor Guard rendered a rifle salute while Legion bugler Gary Rushing, played “Taps” during the event. Paul Corse, chaplain of American Legion Post 24, offered the benediction.