Ceremony honors Manila veterans

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Veteran Woody Townsend was the keynote speaker at the Manila Veterans Day Ceremony. (Town Crier photos/Revis Blaylock)

Veterans and guests gathered at the Manila Herman Davis Monument Sunday afternoon, Nov. 11, for a Veterans Day ceremony.

Manila Scouts presented the Colors and led the Pledge of Alligance. Joe Chipman served as emcee for the ceremony welcoming guests and thanking all of veterans for their service.

Rev. Tony Huffman, pastor of First United Methodist Church and Community Methodist Church, led in prayer.

Donna Jackson, member of the Manila Musuem Committee, accepted an American Flag from Jerry and JoAnn Allison. Mrs. Allison is the great-niece of Herman Davis.

Judy Hampton sang the National Anthem. Mrs. Hampton held the Army coat belonging to her father while she sang.

Chipman introduced the keynote speaker, Woody Townsend. Townsend is a former fighter pilot and retired Air Force Captain. He graduated from Manila High School in 1951, entered college at Texas A&M and later the University of Arkansas. While in college, Townsend entered the military service as an aviation cadete. He received his commission as 2nd Lt. and his Air Force Navigator's Wings. He went on to recive training and certification to fly the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Fighter jet. Captain Townsend served in the National Air Defense Command with tours of duty in the states of Montana and California, as well as Newfoundland, Canada. While assigned overseas to Clark Air Force Base, Philipines, his unit routinely deployed to Vietnam and portions of Thailand. From these locations, Townsend flew more than 50 combat missions. He was recognized for his service and support of "Operation Market Time," which provided necessary air defenses that protected troops in Vietnam and throughout the rest of southeast Asia.

Townsend remains active in aviation serving as Manila Airport project coordinator. He has been involved with several airport projects. His expertice and overall knowledge have been vital in sustaining Manila's recognition as home to one of the top tier small town municipal airports in the state. Townsend also is a member of Moving Manila Forward.

Judy Hampton sang the National Anthem at the Manila Veterans Day Ceremony held on Sunday. She held an Army coat belonging to her father.

Townsend shared the history of Veterans Day, pointing out Nov. 11, 2018, is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I.

"Over 71,000 from Arkansas served in World War I and Herman Davis was one of them," Townsend said.

Armistice Day eventually was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.

Rep. Johnny Rye sang God Bless America at the Manila Veterans Ceremony.

"Veterans have a love of country," Townsend said. "They are willing to serve and sacrifice. A few men and women sacrifice so many can live without fear. Veterans support the American Flag, a symbol of our great nation."

Townsend read the famous poem "In Flanders Field".

Townsend said the poem reminds him of the price that was paid.

"May God bless each and every one of you who have served and are serving," Townsend said. "Thank you for coming and thank you all for caring."

Rep. Johnny Rye sang "God Bless America."

Chipman recognized John Mitchell, a World War II veteran.

Donna Jackson presented a framed flag, believed to be the flag presented to the Herman Davis family at his funeral. The flag was donated by the great-niece of Davis, JoAnn Allison. Mrs. Allison and her husband, Jerry, were present for the ceremony. The flag will be placed in the military museum located in the old Manila train depot.

Chipman then read the list of names of Manila veterans who have died over the last year. The reading of the names was followed by a moment of silence.

Veterans remembered were: John Elvis Byrd, Robert Nelson Hamilton, Mark Randel Murray, M.H. Walker, Ira Wayne Shedd, Frank E. Byrd, Nelson Ray Benson, Jimmy Glen Vassar, Gary Perkins, Terry Bill, Melvin Browning, Joe Douglas Wells, Larry George Flagg, Herbert Albert Wise, Bob Routon (WWII), Lawrence "Sonny" Dillard, Jr., Carl Anthony "Tony" Rogers, Terry Lee McFall, Sammy Flagg and Bobby Lynn Jones.

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