THURMAN — Area residents gathered for a moment of fellowship at Tyn Rhos Church and its cemetery Saturday to honor the veterans buried in its grounds as well as all veterans as the holidays fast approach.
The event was held as part of national celebrations for Wreaths Across America, a program started by a Maine wreath company that took its extra wreaths and then laid them in an older section of Arlington National Cemetery that had reportedly been visited by fewer visitors. A picture of the event was passed about the internet before its practice became recognized as a nationally-organized occurrence.
“We’re happy that people were able to come out and remember these veterans, today,” said Event Organizer Patricia Filie. “This may be the one time some of these veterans may see anything placed at their (headstones) all year.”
Filie said over 60 wreaths were placed in the cemetery in recognition of veterans.
Simpson Chapel United Methodist Youth Group read a poem as well as held a ceremonial folding of the U.S. flag during the ceremony. Jenny Henchey led special music.
Retired military chaplain John Jackson shared a few prayers with visitors. Tri-state Chapter 949 Vietnam Veterans President and President of area Marine Corps Coordinating Council Ron Wroblewski and Wound Warrior Advocate Cindy Parsons also shared a few words about the importance of veteran sacrifices.
“One of the things I always remind people of,” said Jackson, “it’s not just that we’ve given our lives and our country and our best so that we can have these freedoms, but people like Ron have served all over the world to give people the same kinds of freedoms we have.”
“I believe that being patriotic should be a way of life,” said Wroblewski, a retired marine,”not just brought out on holidays or times of crisis or once or twice a year. I believe the United States of America has done more good around the world than any other country… We have more freedom here than anywhere else in the world, please, do not abuse that privilege.”
Parsons’ son was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and lost both of his legs and suffered brain trauma due to an explosive as his unit was traveling in a vehicle.
“It was a Saturday and I remember the phone ringing, thinking it was my son because sometimes he would call,” said Parsons. “Only this time, it was a stranger telling me that my son had been critically wounded and to stand by. Three phone calls later, I found out that he lost his left leg above the knee and they had to amputate the right leg to save his life. He was 21 years-old… “
Parsons went on to describe the challenges her son, Shane, would face due to his injuries over the years but she said that he would not have traded his time serving his country despite them. He would go on to become a football coach, get married and have a child.
Parsons said that representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project visited her family and made an impact on them. The organization serves as a charity that offers a variety of programs and services for wounded veterans of military action, she said. Parsons emphasized the importance of remembering what veterans had sacrificed as well as the professionals who helped them overcome their physical and mental challenges.
A list of the veterans names in the cemetery was read before wreaths were laid beside their headstones.
The names following are those who were honored at the function:
Methuen Allen, John James Allison, David Alitzer, Kerry A. Bell, Marshall F. Canaday, David H. Davies, William J. Davies, Daniel J. Davies, David D. Davis, Stephen Davis, T.E. Davis, Dale Dodson, David R. Evans, John E. Evans, John G. Evans, John (Soar) Evans, Matthew Evans, Wayne Evans, John Gilliam, Willard B. Evans, Jack Harrison, Jasper Heinis, S.J. Housh, Forrest Hutchins, Raymond Denver Hutchins, David Jones, D.G. Jones, Frances Clark Jones, John Jones, Charles A. Jenkins, Donald G. Jones, James H. Luman, Clarence C. Luman Jr., Richard Thomas Mills, Johnny E. Mathews, Jon M. Lynch, Richard Henderson Maynard, Dan Morgan, Thomas H. Perry, David T. Rees, James Rees, John L. Richards, David A. Reynolds, Robert S. Rees, John D. Riffe, Charles Richards, James M. Rodgers II, Paul E. Shato, Frank Shoemaker, Melvin Leonard Showalter, Emmett T. Thompson, Thomas B. Williams, William A. Williams, Byron Bing, Frances H. Richards, Robert Allen, Daniel W. Thomas, Tomas Lewis, Henry Rogers, Deborah Morgan Reynolds, Arthur William Reynolds, Orlyn W. Davis, Isaac Jones, Leslie M. Siders, Eldon Thomas.