Monette ceremony recognized veterans

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Veterans, from left include, Wes Cornish, Robin Ashley, Brandon Decker, David McElhaney, Jerry Reed, Ken Starnes, Robert Chambers, Larry Rolland, Dick Pace, Bob George, Bill Craig, Marie George and Bob Blankenship. Not pictured, Janet Rolland. (Photos provided/Nan Snider)

Monette American Legion Post 136 hosted a Memorial Day tribute to veterans on Sunday, May 27, at the Monette Cemetery.

Post Commander Brandon Decker welcomed the veterans and their families in attendance.

Former Post Commander Jerry Reed led the opening prayer and placed an American flag in the soil, signifying the beginning of the special tribute.

Guest Speaker David McElhaney, of Jonesboro, a veteran who served with the Army National Guard 875th Engineering Battalion.

The Color Guard veterans presented the flags, with Larry Rolland carrying the U.S. Flag and Robert Chambers carrying the Veterans of Foreign Wars flag. Brandon Decker and Wes Cornish served as arms bearers.

The Honor Guard fired three volleys to honor the veterans, alive and deceased. The Honor Guard consisted of Sergeant of Arms Robin Ashley with Larry Rolland, Robert Chambers, Bill Craig, Bob Blankenship, Dickie Pace, Wes Cornish and Brandon Decker. Taps was played Marie George following the tribute.     

Ms. George read “My Name Is Old Glory,” a poem written by Howard Schnauber, in honor of Monette veteran Larry Drummond.

Guest speaker was David McElhaney. He is a 1999 graduate of Buffalo Island Central High School. McElhaney was with the Arkansas National Guard Engineer Battalion 875th, Charlie Company for 10 years, and served one tour of duty in Iraq. He is married to the former Amber Welch of Monette. They have three sons and live in Jonesboro.

“I feel lucky to be here with you, and to be able to hug my children and kiss my wife,” McElhaney said. “So many veterans who have served are not here with us today. Military service becomes real to me when I think of the ultimate sacrifice that many soldiers have given. It was a huge honor for me to serve my country.

“For many the war is still raging. We have all lost many friends, soldiers and citizens. I want to use this day to remember them. This day is about more than just barbecue and beaches, it’s about our fallen comrades.”

McElhaney quoted several passages from the poem by Marion G. Mahoney titled “Those Honored Dead,” which details why the the flag is flown today.

Monette American Legion Post members placed USA flags along main street, at the intersection of Hwy. 18 and Hwy. 139, and at the Monette Cemetery, on Saturday, May 26. Veterans also placed flags on the graves of the fallen at the Macey and Black Oak Cemeteries.

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