Greenville monument very special

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Each year the months of May and June bring a focus on patriotism and a remembrance of those who gave the supreme sacrifice on behalf of our country.

This special emphasis is driven in part by the annual Memorial Day celebrations and the military remembrances associated with World War II.

Although we should be mindful year round of our veterans and our active military for the contributions they have made and are making to our freedoms, it is very fitting that we set aside some special time to publicly acknowledge those who give so unselfishly that we may enjoy the benefits of living in the great country of America.

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I had the privilege of participating in two such activities in recent days.

I attended the ceremony in Pike County which celebrated the expansion of the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile Facility at Lockheed Martin.

Representatives of the Missile Defense Agency of the Federal Government announced the activation of production of the most sophisticated missal yet, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon, commonly called THAAD.

Both the THAAD project manager and the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency were there to announce the project, and US Senator Jeff Sessions and our Congressman, Terry Everett, spoke in support of the program.

This expansion is a significant milestone for Lockheed’s Pike County operations, as well as the state of Alabama.

We are fortunate to have such a major plant in our senate district which plays such a significant role in our nation’s defense.

The second program which I was privileged to attend was held in Greenville on the grounds of City Hall.

The occasion was the official dedication of a World War II monument to honor all those from Butler County who gave the supreme sacrifice in the early and mid 1940’s.

Gene Hardin, the longtime editor and publisher of the Greenville Advocate and a former member of the Alabama Legislature, spearheaded the project, together with his fellow Lions Club members.

The keynote speaker for the occasion was Vice Admiral Lewis Crenshaw, Jr., a native of Butler County, and also on the program were local attorney and World War II veteran, Jack Williams, and Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon.

I know Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Crenshaw, Sr. are very proud of their son.

He is the second in command of our naval forces in Europe and is presently stationed in London, England.

One of the most impressive parts of the ceremony was the reading of the names of the 89 individuals who gave their lives in defense of freedom during World War II from Butler County.

As each name was read, a young naval officer rang a bell.

That young naval officer was the grandson of my longtime friend and former colleague, Eric Cates.

I likewise know he is proud of this young man.

Next week we will acknowledge the importance and significance of our flag on June 14, which is set aside as &uot;Flag Day.&uot;

Again, this will be a meaningful reminder of how great it is to live in the United States of America.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.