Cedar­town hon­ors vet­er­ans

Vet­er­ans honor their fallen com­rades

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - From staff re­ports

The an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of Amer­ica’s vet­er­ans saw dozens out bun­dled up against a chilly Novem­ber morn­ing over the week­end in Cedar­town’s Vet­er­ans Memo­rial Park.

Com­mand Mas­ter Chief Wade D. Willing­ham pro­vided a somber trib­ute to lo­cal vet­er­ans dur­ing the Satur­day event, cel­e­brated at the same time the end of World War I on the west­ern front went into ef­fect on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11:11 a.m.

He spoke about his mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in Cedar­town’s Goodyear Vil­lage, sur­rounded by he­roes who in­stilled in him the char­ac­ter that drove him into ser­vice. He­roes who he played base­ball with as a young boy, who he went to high school with and ex­pe­ri­enced the joys of youth, and who even­tu­ally he marched off to war in south­east Asia..

Many of Willing­ham’s friends wouldn’t come back from the Viet­nam War, and he choked up as he re­mem­bered their sac­ri­fice.

Willing­ham en­tered the U.S. Navy in 1964 af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, served aboard six dif­fer­ent ships over a 31year ca­reer, and in­cluded a tour as the sea­man­ship and bat­tal­ion chief at the Navy Of­fi­cer Can­di­date School in New­port, R.I. He re­tired af­ter serv­ing in Nor­folk, Vir­ginia, as Com­mand Mas­ter Chief in 1995.

He also en­cour­aged folks to be­come ac­tive in sup­port­ing Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, and he said there are many ways to thank a vet­eran. The most heart­felt is to spend you time show­ing up and sup­port­ing lo­cal cer­e­monies like the one held Satur­day morn­ing, Willing­ham said.

Around 175 peo­ple took part in the week­end cer­e­mony, one of many held in Polk County to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion and re­mem­ber those who have made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice by serv­ing in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Dec­o­ra­tions for this year’s ser­vice was pro­vided by par­tic­i­pants of the Tal­lapoosa Cir­cuit Drug Court, who on Nov. 4 gath­ered to place flags around the mon­u­ments at the park hon­or­ing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Ma­rine Corps and Coast Guard mem­bers who have served in Cedar­town and Polk County.

Photo con­trib­uted by Aimee Mad­den / City of Cedar­town

Vet­er­ans gath­ered on a chilly morn­ing on Nov. 11 to re­mem­ber those who have served and sac­ri­ficed in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Photo con­trib­uted by Aimee Mad­den / City of Cedar­town

Com­mand Mas­ter Chief Wade D. Willing­ham speaks dur­ing the Cedar­town Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony on Nov. 11.

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