By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
The American Legion Auxiliary Post 90 hosted a service to honor Korean War veterans Saturday, April 28, at Heritage Park.
Following the reading of a proclamation by Mayor Jim Staff, Judge Jeff White spoke.
He began his remarks by reading a list of names:
Ples F. Booth, Vivian D. Bryant, James E. Carter, Joseph D. Chancery, Willie D. Daw, Fred Fuqua, Aubrey Godwin, Paul R. Goodson, Robert H. Hart, Ruel L. Howell, Olan H. Kirkland, Edward W. Rigdon, Barney Tolbert, Leonard Watson, Carlos D. Weaver.
“These are the names of the known Escambia County citizens to have perished in the Korean War,” Judge White said. “Their names are inscribed on a copper plate affixed to a cold piece of granite that rests in front of the Courthouse in Brewton. I read their names for the same reason we meet here today – to remember. Personally, I knew none of those people. They died long before I was born. That fact however, does not temper my respect, my appreciation nor my understanding of their sacrifice. For you who served and returned, I humbly offer my respect, appreciation and understanding of your sacrifice.”
Former Atmore Mayor and Korean War veteran Howard Shell was the keynote speaker.
“I stand here today not for Howard Shell, not for the ones who came back, but for the ones still there,” Shell said, referring to the more than 7,700 soldiers still unaccounted for in Korea.
Mr. Shell served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman. Though he wasn’t stationed in Korea, he saw the result of the conflict first hand.
“You may say, ‘Well you didn’t go to Korea.’ But I was there for the ones they brought in from Korea,” he said. “I sat by their beds. I wrote letters for them.”
Mr. Shell was stationed at a hospital in Pensacola and two hospitals in Japan.
“I do not regret a day I served,” he said. “I admired and respected the people I served with. You had to be there to know the camaraderie … I appreciate the American Legion for honoring veterans.”
He raised his right hand, simulating his swearing in when he joined the Navy decades ago.
Also at the service were the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State delegates Anna Grace Janes and Christiara Jones.
News photo by Sherry Digmon