Memorial service is tribute to departed members

As 99th Infantry Division Association Chaplain Arnold Taylor wrote his remarks for the annual Memorial Service at Louisville, he planned to be on hand to deliver them. But, while he and his wife Lilian were in line at the hotel to check in, they received word that Lilian’s brother in South Carolina had died.

Taylor, never one to shirk his duty, turned over his notes to B.O. Wilkins and headed back to South Carolina.

Wilkins stepped up and filled the void, taking on the task of delivering Taylor’s words and above all, remembering those members who had died in the past year.

The colors were advanced by Sergeants-at-Arms Jesse Coulter and Mark Mueller and the past presidents.

Wilkins shared a modified version of Taylor’s remarks, which are printed here:

“Regardless of anyone’s personal religious persuasion, the words of St. Paul before his demise serve well for veterans of any of our nation’s wars. They are quite dear to our hearts as we think of our 99’ers who, after service during World War II became known as ‘The Greatest Generation.’

“Quote: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race (the race of life, I must add), and I have kept the faith (faith in God for some, but for all faith in the American way of life).’

“Before long, we’ll be reading the names of those of our number known to have died in the year since our 2009 reunion in St. Louis. And then Taps will be sounded, a practice that has become traditional for any military funeral or memorial service in our nation.

“There are 24 notes in the bugle call known to all of us as Taps.

“It was adapted during the Civil War from a tune that was called ‘Extinguish Lights,’ which meant in the army camps that it was time to put out the lights and go to sleep. The British had a similar ‘Lights Out’ bugle call.

“A General Butterfield and a bugler, Oliver Norton, created this adaptation to the tune we find so familiar. It was first used at a military funeral during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia in 1862, instead of the firing of volleys because the enemy was too close and the sound of the rifles would renew the fighting. Good move.

“Other buglers heard it and soon it became the standard.

“There have been about six different verses written for that tune. The most popular one is the one we used to sing in Boy Scout camp at the end of the day when we were all supposed to shut up and go to sleep.

“You know the words:

“Day is done. Gone the sun from the hills, from the lake, from the sky. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.

“May these words run through our hearts and minds when Taps are sounded at the conclusion of the reading of the memorial names. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.”

Wilkins and Joe Kagan read the names of those remembered:

Willard Adcox M/393

Albert Adler M/395

Eugene Averitte M/395

W.S. “Bill” Barron Jr. unit unknown

Charles Cicero H/394

James Collins unit unknown

Theodore Cox D/393

Clyde Davis K/393

Lafe Reese Edmunds 393

Albert Elby K/393

Wilbur Fogle B/371

Marion Harker Q/393

Eli “Lefty” Heitic F/393

Milton Hild A/394

William Hughes 3/393

Charles Jacobs C/370

Cleon Janos C/371

Carl Johnson K/393

Robert Justice E/395

Marshall Lee M/395

Michael Geary Lloyd M/324

Peter Lombardo D/395

James Lutz M/394

Eugene Manfield Can/394

Louis Manus Q/394

Ernest McDaniel F/393

John McGuire D/393

Nevelle McKinney Q/099

Ernest Mettenet D/394

Frank Meyer 5/Med

Gerald Byrem B/393

John Heisler 394

Arthur Mikles A/370

Frank Miller S/099

Lewis Miller B/393

Elmer Mohrmann C/370

George Nothwang I/395

Irvin “Bud” Olt G/394

Raymond Parks D/394

Robert Parks K/395

Louis Pedrotti L/395

Earl peters S/924

Russell Porter 1/394

Henry Puchalsky A/395

Henry Raczkowski C/395

John Rarick C/393

Rev. Lindell “Lindy” Sawyers C/395

Delbert Sayer G/394

Warren Schilling C/393

Willis Sellhorn K/393

Carter Smith Q/395

Kenneth Smith I/395

Newman Smith C/395

Warren Springer C/371

Leo Spyra A/393

Leon St. Pierre H/395

Henry Thomas M/395

Cornie Van Gorp I/393

Fred Verdicchio A/371

Karl Wagner M/393

Irving Warnasch L/395

Haskell “Hack” Wolff H/394

George Serkedakis unit unknown

Herman Newcomb 394

Bugler Wayne Hall of VFW Post 1170 sounded Taps.

“This is a memorial song for those who have left us and those left behind,” Melanie Wilkins said, as she began a special musical number, “Thank You.”

Taylor’s words, continued:

“Finally, here is a poem offered as a transition to our life beyond our present remembrance; for, we must go on. It is a plug for the recognition of any one of us veterans when our time comes – or that of any veteran of any war since ours, and there are plenty of them in this day. For it is the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have preserved our freedom – including freedom of the press.

A Soldier Died Today

“Let us pray: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace this day and forever more. Amen.

“Go in peace and live from day to day to show our fallen heroes that what they fought for is still on its way!”

The colors were retired.

Last modified Oct. 21, 2010

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