Brown County’s Veterans Day observations include a parade through downtown Brownwood this morning and then, two ceremonies presenting 18 veterans the World War II Patriotic Medallion of Honor and Respect.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Citizen Soldiers” and is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., leading out from the Brownwood Coliseum and winding through downtown and concluding at the Depot. Those who plan to participate in the parade should line up at 9:30 a.m. at the coliseum.
At 11 a.m., at the Depot, the first of two ceremonies in which World War II veterans wall be presented the Patriotic Medallion. Nine men, including Lester Curry, C.F. Allison, Chester Damron, Jack Gorden, Roy P. Ferguson, C.T. Laxson, Grady Thompson, Homer B. Allen Jr. and W. Sutton Gable will be presented their medallions.
Then at 1:30 p.m., at the Depot, nine more World War II veterans will be presented medallions. That group includes Odell Duncan, Herman Drinkard, Charles Cole, James W. Johnson, Joe Bob Morgan, Arvel W. McClure, L.B. Bowman, Cameron Warren and A.W. Rendleman.
Today’s ceremonies will be the ninth and 10th such events since November, 2007. To date, 74 World War II veterans have been honored and presented the World War II Patriotic Medallion of Honor and Respect. A 1993 act of Congress provides that every World War II veteran is deserving and entitled to the medallion.
In presenting the medallions, a ceremony official always reads from the script, stating, “We must never forget that without the loyalty, sacrifice, and patriotism of those who served and are being honored with this medallion, this nation might not exist and our lives could have been vastly different.”
The presentations are hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3278 and the Excalibur Chapter of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association of Abilene.
“We’ve worked from a pretty good list, and each time we have one of these ceremonies, we find more veterans who are deserving,” said Ernest Cadenhead, who, along with several others has devoted untold hours making the lists and writing the biographical and service information about the honorees.
“It takes time to get the information, and it takes time to present the information in a ceremony. But we want to do that,” Cadenhead said.
“There is so much information about the veterans and their service records, that we try to keep the number to between eight and 10 being honored at a time. Anyone who served with the Allied Forces in World War II is eligible to receive the service medallion.
“Otherwise,” Cadenhead said, “the program lasts too long and people can’t sit for that long comfortably or absorb all the information we read.”
“We try to keep a list, and we find more, so we add those onto the list,” Cadenhead said. “And have another ceremony. We know this is important and we want to honor these men and women. And there is a sense of urgency. We’re losing members of that great generation at a pretty fast pace.”
A veteran who would like to receive a medallion should submit his or her name, address and telephone contact information, branch of service, length and time of service and where they served in written format to “Veteran Medallions; c/o American Legion Post 196; P.O. Box 1111; Brownwood, TX 76804.