Manila Veterans honored at MHS

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Former Manila graduate (1967) and Vietnam Veteran Eddie Joe Barker was the guest speaker at the 2014 Veteran's Day ceremony held at Manila High School.

Veterans from Manila and the surrounding area were honored with a Veteran's Day service at the MHS gymnasium on Tuesday morning. The annual tribute to area veterans is a longtime tradition at Manila.

Students and teachers welcomed veterans from all branches of the service. A video tribute was played in honor of those men and women who have served.

Manila Boys Scouts presented the flags and the National Anthem was sung by the MHS Choir.

High School Principal Chris Ferrell gave a tribute to veterans welcoming all of the guests to MHS commenting honoring the veterans is one of his favorite days of the school year. He recognized his dad, Roger Ferrell, a veteran.

Eddie Joe Barker, 1967 graduate of Manila High School and veteran of the U.S. Army, was guest speaker for the day. Barker, a Vietnam veteran, talked about the sacrifices made by many who gave their all and the flag that symbolized America's freedom.

"I appreciate each one of our veterans," he said. "From 1965 to 1975 58,000+ men and some women lost their lives. As in all wars, it was a great sacrifice among families."

He shared two poems written by a fellow soldier in his platoon saying war takes a toll on veterans even 10 to 20 years and longer after service.

"It was a long time before I could talk about being a Vietnam veteran," he said. "Now I can say I am thankful to be a veteran.

Manila 1973 graduate and veteran Joe Chipman recognized the family of the late J.D. Forsythe who were present for the program.

Mr. Forsythe was raised in the Manila/Leachville area graduating from Leachville High School in 1942. He joined the Army, served during World War II, and was a POW. For many years Mr. Forsythe returned to Northeast Arkansas from his home in California to be part of the Veteran's Day program.

"Mr. Forsythe, with tears, would read the memorial list of area veterans who had passed away from one Veteran's Day to the next," Chipman said. "This year his name is on the list."

A moment of silence followed the reading of the Manila veterans who had died since Nov. 11, 2013.

Veterans on the memorial list included Carroll Waddell, Earl Williams, Jr., Ray Elwood Decker

Garry Bunch, R.J. "Benny" Bennett, Joe Dean Pierce, James Boswell "Jim" Cheadle,

Donald M. Brooks, James Curtis Sharp, James Danial Forsythe, and Dell Van Halfacre.

Mr. Forsythe's funeral service was held Tuesday afternoon at Howard Funeral Service followed by burial, with military honors, at the Manila Cemetery.

The program ended with students and teachers having the opportunity to shake the hands and greet the veterans attending the program.

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  • I am the Niece of James Daniel Forsythe. I would sincerely like to thank everyone involved in the wonderful Veterans Day ceremony. I am the last of my family to be born in Manila. My daughter Traci came with me for my Uncles funeral. She was amazed at the children all coming to shake the hand and say thank you to all the veterans. Our visit though marked with great loss, was also a time for my family to come together and become a family again. The people of Manila are truly giving and their genuine openness and friendship were a source of comfort to my family.

    Sincerely, Gloria J. Danley

    -- Posted by havasuduo on Tue, Nov 18, 2014, at 11:59 PM
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