Stories from local veterans on Memorial Day

news-yellowribbonOver the years, the Hook has profiled several local veterans whose stories are worth remembering on this Memorial Day. Last year, the Hook looked back at the life of Marine Cpl. Brad Arms, the Charlottesville resident who was killed in 2004, only a few months into his service in Iraq. In the run-up to that war in Iraq, the Hook sought the insights of veterans of the first Gulf War Eric Allen and Jacke Brown, as well as Vietnam War veteran and Green Beret Alan Farrell. In 2005, the Hook interviewed Hank Allen, Horace Boykin, and Mason Allen, all among the African-American veterans of World War II. And in 2004, the Hook learned of the remarkable story of the seven brothers Cason, who all served in and survived their tours in the Second World War.
–photo by Mark Blevis/Flickr


A speech that can make us all proud to be Americans.

In Remembrance of those who have gone before:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that
nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long
endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We
have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final
resting place for those who here gave their lives that that
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that
we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not
consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men,
living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far
above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can
never forget what they did here. It is for us the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they
who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather
for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before
us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of
devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall
not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have
a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by
the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln's Address at Gettysburg ( November 19,1863 )

I appreciated the opportunity to stand with many other citizens today and remember those who have sacrificed for our country. We stood under cloud filled skies and listened to the wonderful Charlottesville High School Band led by retiring Vincent Tornello. We watched as the various veterans groups laid wreaths in remembrance. Colonel Steve Hood, Commander of the National Ground Intelligence Center, spoke and reminded us, that although this is a day of pool openings and picnics, it is also a day to give thanks to the brave men and women who defend our country and sometimes give their lives in this service. He said "the last two years in Charlottesville have been the best, because this town is so good to the military." Next year he will be deployed to Iraq.