WWII Vets honored by Lewisburg mayor, council

Friday, October 13, 2017
Lewisburg recognized Marshall County’s surviving veterans of World War II at Tuesday night’s council meeting. About half of the 24 vets identified were able to attend the ceremony. The 24 surviving veterans that the city was able to locate are Jack Adams, James L. Allen, Odell Armour, Bill Cain, Tommy Cathey, Buford Endsley, Bill Ezell, Howard French, John Hursh, Paul Jackson, Paul Johnson, Jay Liles, Roy McPherson, Conrad C. Mehlenbacher, Fleming Montgomery, Edmond Nacchio, Warren Nash, Dehota Richards, Jack E. Robinson, Herman Thompson, Allen Vore, Robert H. Walker, Albert Whitaker, and Robert E. Wilson.
Tribune photo by Scott Pearson

They are called the “Greatest Generation.”

They are in their 90s now. Some still play golf everyday. Some are worn and tired by the years.

They are World War II veterans, though, and they still, despite the passage of time, radiate a quiet confidence and inspire a feeling of awe.

The city of Lewisburg honored these men Tuesday night, although no resolution or official thanks can really satisfy the debt they are owed.

According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, fewer than 600,000 of the more than 16 million veterans who served in uniform are still alive.

The combined efforts of the city and the Marshall County Historical Society were able to find 24 men still living in the county who served in the war.

Lewisburg held a reception for the veterans prior to Tuesday’s city council meeting and honored all of them with a resolution honoring their service.

Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham had stated on previous occasions that the city should have honored these veterans years ago, before their numbers began to dwindle.

“Too few appreciate what they did and what they went through,” said Bingham.

Whether they jumped into France on June 6, 1944, or stood guard on supply ships in the Pacific, they all answered the call of their country in a struggle for the very existence of the nation and the entire free world.

There have been hundreds of movies about WWII, thousands of books, and millions of stories, but these are, literally, the men who created those stories.

These are men who were there when history was written.

About half of the county’s living veterans were able to come for the ceremony. They came with their children, and grand children, and great grand children, generations bearing witness to their legacy.

While their numbers are dwindling with the passage of time, their impact and influence are still strong.

Councilman Steve Thomas summed up the lasting legacy of these men at the end of the ceremony.

“We are honored to have you here tonight, giving up your time and allowing us to honor you,” said Thomas. “I’m a Baby Boomer. These folks we’ve honored tonight are our mommas and daddies, but, more than that, they were our teachers, our coaches, our scout masters, our Sunday school teachers and our examples. They taught us the meaning of honor and the value of freedom, and, for that, I’m truly grateful.”