Veterans honored at Manila ceremony
Veterans were honored at the annual Manila Veteran's Day ceremony held at the Herman Davis Monument on Monday at 11 a.m. The tribute to the men and women who have served and those serving was organized by Donna Jackson, LeeAnn Helms, and Janet Matheny.
Manila Middle School students welcomed the guests with flags as the program began with Manila Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts presenting the colors.
Manila veteran Ray Dill served as Master of Ceremonies welcoming everyone and offering the opening prayer.
Brandon Bryant and daughters Charlsie and Lindsay, sang the National Anthem.
Tommy Vandivor, Post 197 Chaplain, read the MIA/POW story.
Dill introduced J.D. Forsythe of California, a World War II Veteran. Mr. Forsythe is a native of Manila and returns each year for the Veteran's Ceremonies.
"He was part of the 106th Infantry Division, the golden Lions," Dills said. "He was captured by the Germans and was a POW. He spent a month in a French hospital before being sent back to the United States. His parents thought he had been killed and was never notified of his coming home. "
Dill welcomed Mr. Forsythe who read the names of the area veterans who died in 2013.
Mr. Forsythe asked for a moment of silence before honoring the veterans who have passed away. They are Lowell Polston, Donnie Ray Hall, Bobby Ray Scott, Jack Wagner, Terry Rich, Wesley Crouse, Monte F. Grimes, and Marion Dale Jackson.
Mr. Forsythe presented a medal given to him by the King of Belgium to be placed in the Manila museum. He also gave his personal dog tags he has carried for 72 years.
Joe Chipman read a tribute to Veterans and freedom.
Dill introduced the keynote speaker, Senator David Burnett.
"Senator Burnett is a 1968-1969 Vietnam Veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star and other medals. He has served as prosecuting attorney and judge.
Sen. Burnett expressed his appreciation to all veterans. He talked about the role veterans play in making this country what it is and the pride and patriotism Americans have.
He reminded everyone the U.S. is still in war against terrorism with young men and women are in combat directly in harm's way.
"When we look at our veterans 80 to 18 words cannot express our emotions," Sen. Burnett said. "We should never forget. We should honor and remember the greatest generation and the latest generation. God bless you and God bless America."
Brandon Bryant sang "God Bless the USA before the colors were retired by the Manila Boy Scouts.
Cub Scout leader and veteran Michael Warrenfells, and veteran talked about the VFW Mane program to raise money to help with the needs of the veterans. He shared statistics on wounded veterans. Warrenfell, who has not had his hair cut in six years, joined the campaign and raised over $400 and had his hair cut Monday afternoon.
A reception followed the ceremony at the Manila Depot for veterans and guests. Sandwiches and cookies were served.