(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Wilburn Ramsey was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. The flag was presented to Mrs. Ramsey at his funeral service.
"The flag is for freedom purchased by all men and women that served our country," Mrs. Ramsey said. "I couldn't think of a better thing to do with the flag. It is very fitting it flies at the cemetery where he, and other veterans, are now resting."
Mr. Ramsey was a native of the Manila area, the oldest of seven children born to W.T. and Annie Ramsey. He was raised in the Section 16 community working on the farm with his family.
He answered the call to serve his country at the age of 19 when he joined the military on July 15, 1943. He was a WT3/c (T). He served on the Landing Craft School on the SS Typhoon and Com Service Pac Adv. Base Pers Administration in Hawaii. He served on the USS Livingston (AK-222) WAIPIO Amphibious Operating Base landing in the Pacific. He was part of an operation carrying Marines from island to island. Among the places he toured were Midway, Guam, Panama, and Okinawa.
"Wilburn was saved while he was in San Diego under the preaching of Rev. Charles E. Fuller. During his service Mr. Ramsey served as chaplain on the ship when he was needed.
Mr. Ramsey's twin brothers, Elvin and Delvin, joined the Army and were sent to Italy. The war ended before they had to go to combat.
"Wilburn lost a cousin in World War II," Mrs. Ramsey said. "They were going to be in the same area and had made plans to meet, but his cousin was declared missing in action and they did not get to see each other."
Ramsey received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy on Jan. 7, 1946, and returned to Arkansas.
"We met at Sunny Land Community Church right after he returned from the service," Mrs. Ramsey said. "We married on June 10, 1946.
The Ramseys had the opportunity to take a trip to Hawaii 30 years after he served there.
"He enjoyed seeing the places he had been," Mrs. Ramsey said.
Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey made their home in Manila where they raised their children. He farmed and retired from American Greetings before he and his wife opened their own business in Manila.
Mr. Ramsey died Jan. 8, 1999.
R.J. Bennett, cemetery board member, said if anyone has an American flag in honor of their loved one they would like to fly at the cemetery, they can contact him or any member of the board.
"If they want the flag returned, we can do so or when it is ready to be taken down I will destroy it in the proper manner with respect for the flag and the men and women who served," Bennett said.
Bennett said the Manila Cemetery has a lot of veterans buried there and flying the flag is a great tribute to all of them.