Manila Memorial Day service honors those who served

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Veterans attending the Manila Memorial Day Service span across 75 years of service.

A Memorial Day service was held at the Herman Davis Monument in Manila on Monday, May 30. A large crowd gathered to honor the men and women who gave their all in service to their country.

Boy Scout Troop #32, under the direction of Mike Warrenfells, along with other Scouts presented the colors.

Emcee Tim Sandusky recognized and welcomed members of the Manila Police Department, members of the Manila Volunteer Fire Department, veterans and family members.

Mike Bunch was presented a quilt of valor. (Photo by Mike Chojnacki.

Among the veterans present and recognized were two World War II veterans, Robert "Bob" Rothus of Hardy and John H. Mitchell of Manila. Also present were veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq War.

Dave Wallace, District 54 representative and veteran, was the guest speaker. Wallace was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medal for Valor and three Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry, inducted into the Arkansas State Hall of Heroes in 2010 and the Arkansas Military Veteran's Hall of Fame in 2014.

Wallace spoke to the crowd about remembering those who gave their all. He talked about combat and the definition of fear and true courage.

Rep. Wallace spoke of the young men and women who have always been willing to go and serve.

"We have a lot of every day worries but we do not have to worry about the cost of our freedom," he said. "It has been paid for at a high price."

He talked about combat memories veterans will have and the adjustments they have to go through following combat.

"In the wee hours of the night, the sounds of combat come back," Wallace said. "The cries of wounded, the memories of comrades long gone return. Those are the memories of combat veterans. Today we honor those men and women. Thank you all for coming, God bless America."

Joe Chipman gave the symbolism of the MIA/POW table displayed at the monument and how everyone should remember.

A narration and song, "The Greatest Generation," written by Chipman featuring World War II veteran Rothus own words, was played.

Mississippi County Veteran's Service Officer Jim Dixon spoke briefly recognizing the family members of the men and women who served.

Sherry Bunch Pratt made a special presentation to her brother, Michael Bunch, who left Manila at the age of 17 to serve in Vietnam. He was presented with a quilt of valor.

Carlean Evans presented her son, Keith Evans, with a shadow box of medals belonging to his grandfather, Keith Evans, a World War II veteran. She then gave the flag, belonging to her late husband, veteran Edward Evans, to her daughter, Scottie Reinhart.

Russell Page played Taps following a moment of silence.

Everyone had the opportunity to offer names of deceased friends and family members who had served.

The Ladies Auxiliary of Post 197 and the Business Women of Manila provided refreshments and hosted tours of the Manila Depot Museum, Main Street Museum and the American Legion Post.

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