Friday, July 4, 2014, will mark a special occasion. A ceremony will be held on the courthouse lawn to dedicate the new memorials erected in honor of all veterans of Jasper County. A seven-member committee has been working diligently over the past 10 months to help make this dream become a reality.
Bricks were sold until last November, and the names of 702 local veterans will be displayed. That number includes 98 Jasper County men who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Their bricks will be highlighted in red and were placed at no cost to the family or loved ones.
There also will be bricks honoring the three Jasper County residents that have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor — Edward Bebb of Lynnville, Joseph Stickels of Monroe and Herschel “Pete” Briles of Colfax. The memorials will consist of six panels that contain 117 bricks each. There will also be a Memorial Rock that will be painted with patriotic themed murals. The rock will sit on a four foot granite riser. There will be a five foot granite monument inscribed with all six branches of the service. It will include the statement, “This monument is dedicated to all veterans of Jasper County who have served in both peacetime and war.” They will be guarded by two bronze sculpted eagles on black granite columns.
The dedication ceremony will take place at noon immediately following the parade. The keynote address will be conducted by Betty Southern Atwood. Mrs. Atwood, formerly of rural Mingo, will be speaking in honor of her two brothers, Lowell and Deane Southern. The brothers were both killed in action just weeks apart in Italy during World War II. It will mark almost 70 years to the month that they paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoy today. The committee — consisting of veterans Bob Thorson, Marvin Morris, Keith Thorpe, Chris Chartier, Wallace Schermerhorn and Marta Ford — will complete the itinerary. The American Legion, VFW and Vietnam Veteran color guards will post the colors and fire a 21-gun salute in honor of the deceased to end the program.
On behalf of the committee, we would like to thank all who have donated to this very worthy cause. The memorials are completely funded by donations from businesses and individuals. This memorial complex will complement the memorial that was erected 20 years ago and will serve as a living reminder of the sacrifices made on our behalf by so many of our fellow citizens.