Manila Veterans honored in Manila

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Area veterans were honored on Thursday morning at Manila School as they were welcomed by students and escorted to reserved seating.

Over 50 veterans and guests were in attendance for the Manila High School Veterans Day ceremony. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Local historian Donna Jackson worked with Manila High School teacher LeeAnn Helms gathering information and pictures of local veterans who have served and sacrificed throughout the years beginning with World War I hero Herman Davis.

Tables of pictures and veteran memorabilia were displayed. Pictures were displayed on a memory table for several Manila veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice included Carl Miller, Garvin Wayne Dill, Samuel Lee Modesett, and John Lasater.

Veterans and family members from Manila were on hand as well as former Manila residents from Jonesboro and as far away as California for the Veteran's Day Celebration.

J.D. Forsythe of California, formerly of Manila/Leachville, donated his uniform and medals to the Manila Depot Museum. Mr. Forsythe is a World War II veteran.

A video clip of local soldiers was presented.

Ms. Helms welcomed veterans, administrators, family, friends, and students to the 2010 program.

"We hope to show honor and appreciation for all that our military men and women have done and continue to do to protect this great nation, Helms said. "John F. Kennedy once said, 'As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. I hope Manila High School can live by them and show true appreciation today."

Students Tracey Wade Reinhart led the Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Smith sang the National Anthem.

The Armed Forces Salute was held with veterans standing as each branch's theme song was played.

The Manila High School Band played God Bless the USA while a video was played.

Helms shared history and stories from World War I.

The Manila choir sang "In Flanders Field."

Helms then took the assembly to the 1940's Pearl Harbor and World War II sharing World War II stories as told by those who were there.

Also recognized were Vietnam Veterans and Korea Veterans.

She shared "One Man's Journey," the history of one of Manila's heroes Private First Class John Lasater. Lasater was declared missing in action Korea for over a year before his body was found and sent home for burial.

Former Manila/Leachville resident J.D. Forsythe, a World War II Veteran, who has made his home in California, came in for the ceremony. Mr. Forsythe donated his Army uniform and medals to the Manila Depot Museum. Mr. Forsythe was a prisoner of war in Germany.

Jackson encouraged the veterans to share their stories. Jackson is compiling a Veteran's book featuring veterans from the area. She said there are so many stories to be told.

Two students Mallorie Deaton and Samantha Pearson helped organize the Veteran's Day celebration and reception and will be using the information and data they have gathered to present for judging for a community project. They are FCCLA members and students of Mary Smith. Mrs. Smith and FCCLA students organized and hosted the reception at the Herman Davis Monument.

Manila students have been participating in the Military Christmas Card project and have 2011 cards ready to be sent to veterans.

Following the ceremony, veterans and guests were invited to gather at the Herman Davis Memorial Park where students served cake and punch and had the opportunity to visit with the veterans.

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