Veterans honored at ceremonies Blue Star Memorial dedication in Symsonia; Post 26 to present Korean War monument

JOSEPH "PEE WEE" PETTY/The Mayfield Messenger

Members of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne military band perform Thursday during a Veterans Day assembly at Mayfield High School.

There are numerous opportunities in Mayfield and Graves County to honor and recognize U.S. military veterans Monday for Veterans Day, including two memorial presentations in Mayfield and Symsonia.

American Legion Post 26 will hold its Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at Harmon Park, which will include recognition of the 100th anniversary of the American Legion, guest speaker Col. James Allen Page, and the presentation of a Korean War monument at the park site.

According to Post 26 Commander Wendell Guge and adjutant Karl Dick, the monument will be dedicated to the memory of U.S. Navy Officer William J. Hill and all Korean War veterans as a memorial to those who served and sacrificed in the war, which was fought between 1950-53.

"We wanted to memorialize their service and honor (Hill)," Guge said.

At 2 p.m. Monday, a ceremony will also be held at the Symsonia Veterans Memorial to honor those who have served while also dedicating the second Blue Star Memorial in Graves County.

The first local Blue Star Memorial marker, which honors U.S. military members and their families across the country, was placed at Harmon Park in July. The markers are secured through the National Garden Club. Mayfield's Laurel Oak Garden Club, which is a member of the National Garden Club, worked to bring the first marker to Graves County and then helped obtain the new one for Symsonia.

The community is invited to the dedication, said club president D-J Swant.

"I think it's a wonderful honor that the county is so supportive of this," she said. "Having two Blue Star Memorial markers in Graves County is just an awesome way to honor our armed forces."

Boyce Crowley, who is a member of Post 26, also credited the Symsonia community for raising funds to secure the marker. He said it wasn't surprising to see residents come together for the project. They had previously purchased bricks to help fund their veterans' memorial, which was dedicated in 2016.

"It's been a real plus for the community," he said of the memorial. Crowley said he had hoped to bring a Blue Star marker to Symsonia for years.

"We're very proud of our county and very proud of our Garden Club," Swant added.

Earlier in the day, Lowes Elementary School will hold its veterans ceremony with a guest speaker. A special recognition ceremony and placement of plaques at the school will honor members of the Lowes community who were killed in action, according to LES Principal Ryan Marchetti. The public is invited to attend.

At 1 p.m., 32-year Navy veteran Master Chief Will Wilson will speak to students Wingo Elementary School. Wilson was an explosives and firearm specialist and served with the Department of Defense, U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S. Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor Adaptive Athletics Program, and Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge.

Mayfield High School held its Veterans Day assembly Thursday with speakers Brad and Janeka Copeland and a performance by member of the 101st Airborne Band from Fort Campbell.

Eric Walker is the news editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.