Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

May 28, 2013

Paying tribute to those who served

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Monday saw an outpouring of honor for fallen soldiers as two separate Memorial Day services were conducted in Corsicana. At 11 a.m., a service was conducted on the Navarro County courthouse lawn, while another service followed close behind at 1 p.m. at Woodland Cemetery.

Ron Wright, a Vietnam veteran, was the keynote speaker at the courthouse event, and he spoke of putting the bodies of his fellow soldiers on helicopters and then visiting their families after he returned.

“I know what Memorial Day is about,” he said.

“We’re here today to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage, and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices,” Wright said.

Among those gathered were a few of the remaining Navarro County World War II veterans, as well as veterans from Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We have veterans dying all year long as a direct result of their time in war,” said Billy Richards, the county’s veterans service officer. Last year, Navarro County had 3,600 veterans, and this year there are 3,510 remaining, he said.

Col. William Downey II, spoke at the Woodland memorial service. A veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Downey is the grandson of Will Coleman, the first African American veterinarian in Texas, and a native of Corsicana.

Downey said he lost men in both Korea and Vietnam and he visits their families each year, as he has for the last 50 years.

“The personnel killed under me I honor them everyday,” Downey said.

Downey pointed out that we should also honor the families of those killed in the military, the “gold star,” mothers; as well as the people mortally wounded who suffer for years afterwards, and the service animals that died in the efforts to achieve peace.

An album of photos from both ceremonies is available on the Daily Sun's Facebook page.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com