State donates to county World War II memorial

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2002

A sizable donation from the state of Alabama will increase the coffers of the World War II Memorial Fund, said Herbert Morton of the Greenville Lions Club.

Morton, co-chairman of the organization’s memorial fund project, said in a recent interview that Senator Wendell Mitchell is slated to present a check for $5,000 for the memorial fund at the November 18 meeting of the Lions Club.

&uot;We currently have some 60 businesses, organizations and individuals who have generously donated to this cause…we have about $5,500 in donations right now and the city of Greenville has pledged to give us $5,000 when we are close to our goal,&uot; noted Morton.

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The Lions are working to raise $40,000 for the construction of a granite monument to serve as a memorial honoring all Butler County veterans of the war.

The names of the county’s war dead will be etched into the monument and all those who served will be listed on a roll of honor at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library.

&uot;Eight additional names have been added to the list [of war dead] since the last publication; we now have 93 names in all.

When you think about it, that’s a tremendous number of casualties from such a small, rural county as Butler County at that time…that’s why we feel we really should have a monument in Butler County to honor these people,&uot; explained Morton.

According to Morton, no less than five sets of Butler County brothers, from the Thompson, Reid, Jones, Joyner and Sellers families, died in the war. In addition, Mr. And Mrs. John W. Huggins of McKenzie had an impressive total of six sons and one daughter serving their country by 1943.

&uot;Mrs. J.F. Cumbie had sixteen grandsons serving at that time, including Kenneth Cumbie…whose widow [Bobbie Jean] has done so much to educate our children about the war,&uot; Morton noted.

The Lions Club, which started its fund drive in early 2002, hopes to dedicate the monument on Veteran’s Day 2003.

&uot;I was amazed to learn that it took three years [at the turn of the last century] to make the Confederate soldier statue in the park a reality…the sum of $750 seems such a paltry sum to us today.

But learning that fact gave me encouragement that we will accomplish our goal if we keep at it,&uot; Morton said.

Morton also noted that additional organizations have come forward and shown interest in the project, including the Three Arts Club of Georgiana and Chapman and the McKenzie PTA.

The new names added to the casualty list include Edward Horton (Marines); Thomas J. Jones (Army Air Corps); James H. Reid and Paul T. Reid (Army Air Corps); James M. Holly, Jr. (Army Air Corps); Earl M. Fussell (Army); Harold Eugene Waller (Army Airborne) and William Carey Perry (Marines).

Morton stressed the importance of constructing the memorial. &uot;The overwhelming reason to build this memorial is to tell those in the future of the magnificent sacrifice of all those who served, both casualties and returnees.

As the British say of those who died, ‘They gave up their tomorrows so we could have our today.’&uot;