Veterans honored at Manila program
Veterans were honored in Manila starting at the Herman Davis Monument at 11 a.m. on 11-11-11.
Craighead County Honor Guard presented the colors for the opening ceremony at the Herman Davis Park following an opening prayer by Rev. Waymon Holt.
Eddie Joe Barker, former Manila resident and veteran, is a member of the Craighead County Honor Guard. He expressed his appreciation to Donna Jackson, chairman of the event, all who helped, and especially the veterans for making the day successful.
Members of the Honor Guard lowered the flag to half mast in memory of a young lady from Arkansas who was killed in Afghanistan.
Barker introduced guest speaker Colonel Jerry W. Bowen, U.S. Army retired. Col. Bowen served 26 years in active duty as an infantry officer, retiring in 1989 after a five year assignment at the Pentagon. Col. Bowman served three combat tours. He is a member of the American Legion Pickett Post 21.
Col. Bowen started by recognizing the World War II veterans.
"You came home, went to college on the GI bill and worked hard to strengthen our economy," he said. "It is said the Korean veterans fought to a draw. I disagree. Our mission was not to invade or conquer it was to push North Korea back. Mission was accomplished. Again, in Vietnam the mission was hampered with our abilities. We could not go north, we could only bomb military targets."
"The American people confused the war with the warrior," Col. Bowen said. "Today's era soldiers (the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan) receive a different greeting. Today they hear, thank you for your service. I am proud the U.S. now does not confuse the war with the warrior."
He read a poem and thanked all of the veterans for their service to their country.
Barker gave a brief history on Herman Davis, the fourth most decorated soldier of World War I.
J.D. Forsythe of California, formerly of Manila and Leachville and veteran of World War II, read names of Manila's deceased veterans who had died over the last year.
"It is a great honor to be asked to do this," Forsythe said. "I am sorry it has to be done. I knew most of them personally."
The memorial list included: Albert Lee Halpain, Lonnie Wright, Clarence "Top" Shockley, Max Schrader, Harold Wayne Goodwin, Bobby Joe Bartholomew, James Eugene Son, Franklin Rice, William Leland Henry, Louie Ray Wadley, Douglas E. "Jack" Walker.
The Manila Depot Museum was opened with a special tribute in the military room for all of the veterans to visit. In the military room there are uniforms from World War I, Korea, World War II, and Vietnam, medals, and many other items donated or on loan from veterans and their families.
The Manila Depot Museum is located at 105 Dewey Street and is housed in the beautifully renovated train depot that served Manila for many years.
A special display on loan from the Donald Veach family displayed many World War II collectibles. The late Veach served in World War II as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. He was part of the 508 Parachute Infantry, nicknamed the Red Devils. Letters, photographs, scrapbooks filled with newspaper articles, and medals were on display.
Jackson expressed her appreciation to the FCCLA officers, Leo Club members, B&PW members, the city of Manila, and members of the Lions Club for making the day such a success.
She especially thanked the veterans for their service and for their attendance to the Manila Veterans Day ceremony. They received a special invitation for lunch at the Depot Center.
Veterans from Northeast Arkansas as well as veterans from California, Missouri, and Ohio attended the ceremony.
Jackson is compiling information from Manila veterans to be included in a veterans book she will be publishing in the near future.