Legion honors veterans on Wednesday

Published 4:23 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Greenville American Legion came together on Wednesday to remember those who died in service to their country on Veterans Day. The Legion placed wreaths at the Butler County World War II Memorial at Greenville City Hall and at the Vietnam Memorial at the Butler County Courthouse.

Prayers were said, salutes were given. Miniature American flags, slipped into the coat pockets of the Legionnaires, were testament to the old soldiers’ undying patriotism and love for their country.

Col. Eric Cates, (ret.), talked about his service during World War II in the Pacific Theatre and Wednesday’s brisk wind was no comparison to the weather Cates was exposed to during his 18 months in the Aleutian Islands. The Aleutians are located near Alaska. Cates fought with the 209th and 154th Field Artillery Battalions at the Battle of Attu.

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After the placing the wreath at the WW II memorial, the Legionnaires convened at the Butler County Courthouse, although some initially gathered near the World War I memorial, located on the south side of the courthouse: the Vietnam Memorial is on the north side.

“Leave it to an old artillery man to storm the wrong beach,” joked veteran Walter Ray Parmer.

Another wreath placed. Another recognition of the lives lost on foreign soil.

“Vietnam is a war a lot of Americans would like to forget,” said Parmer. “But we cannot forget the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price.”

The ceremony ended with a plea from the Legion:

“We need Vietnam veterans from Butler County,” said Parmer. “As more of our World War II veterans are lost, we need to appeal to our Vietnam veterans to join the Legion. Or else there want be a Legion.”