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Taylor takes the helm at annual memorial service

Newly-appointed chaplain Arnold Taylor conducted the memorial service at the 60th annual convention of the 99th Infantry Division Association at St. Louis MO. President B.O. Wilkins appointed Taylor after the resignation of long-time chaplain Joe Johnson earlier this year.

Past presidents filed in as the sergeants-at-arms advanced the colors.

The audience joined in singing “America,” followed by an opening prayer.

Taylor shared thoughts with the audience:

“Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

“Let me open these remarks with a profound thanksgiving that we are here! It may have taken lots of help from pills, doctors and caring family members, but there is something sweet about being able to gather and share memories and strengthen our bonds of fellowship.

“Thanks go to B.O. Wilkins, the site managers for this reunion, and Donna Bernhardt for making the arrangements. Our thanks also go to our former chaplain and association president Joe Johnson for his devoted service to us – and we send our love to him.

“There is a passage in Scripture that outlines my duty at this point. It’s written in the 61st chapter of Isaiah. It says, in part: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to bring good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, sent me to comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, sent me to clothe you in a garment of praise instead of a spirit of heaviness; Why? So that we might be called trees of righteousness, solid as oaks, might be seen as the planting of the Lord, because that is where our guidance comes from. So that He, the Lord, might be glorified.’

“Well, that’s no easy task. We gather on this day and at this hour to remember those of our number who have died … and that’s heavy duty. And yet, our call is to give thanks for their lives, thanks for their service to our nation and our cause, and, for our own part in all this to show that we’re made of the right stuff to carry on and set an example of courage and faith. To keep on keeping on, to honor the things for which they died in battle, and for which the survivors – that’s us – have struggled to affirm in these past 65 years since the war began for us, in fits and starts, seeking to find a better way to resolve differences than through violence and warfare.

“On average, 850 veterans of WWII die each day. It’s not surprising. Nine million of us took part in that defense of our way of life, to say nothing of those who labored on the home front to create the supplies we needed to wage that war.

“In the next few minutes, we’re going to read the names of members of the 99th Infantry Division who have died since our most recent reunion in Kansas City – 50 of us that we know about.

“But first, Melanie Wilkins has an announcement to make to our Higher Power: the song, ‘Another Soldier’s Coming Home.’

“To make this reading more personal, enabling us to share hearts with one another, I am asking you to do the following: if and when the name of someone you knew is read, I’m asking you to belt out an ‘amen’ to affirm that that particular veteran is remembered. If you cannot handle a loud ‘amen,’ at least announce it to those around you.”

Those we remember

Albert Adler M/395

Bernabe Aguilera B/394

Albert Aguzzi E/393

Edgar “Hank” Bar Jr. C/924

Arthur Betts E/393

Col. Charles P. Biggio Jr. C/372

Richard Cade I/395

Floyd Cavender 2nd Bn/393

Elmer Clouse I/394

Robert D. Cornell D/394

James Collins unit unknown

Paul Coughlin B/393

Ed “Mack” Cumbie D/394

Joseph Fedor Q/099

Frank Garrett S/924

Furman Grimm L/394

Leonard Halpern K/393

William Hannafan A/324

Glen Harding C/395

Eli “Lefty” Heitic F/393

Curtis Hibbard I/393

Joseph Hickey C/395

Frank E. Hoffman E/395

Jonathan Hostetler 1 Bn/394

Ward Hypes 1 Bn/395

Sam Isgro AT/395

Donald Kimball K/395

Richard King F/394

Charles Kuhn A/324

Jack Laisure 324 Eng

Donald MacDonald AT/395

Kenneth McCauley D/393

John McGiilvray I/393

Reid Merritt C/394

Ernest Mettenet D/394

Frank Meyer 5/MED

Aubrey Mitcherson D/394

Elmer Mohrmann C/370

William Molketin AT/395

Emil Pappalardo L/393

Leslie Pintler B/395

William Reddick Jr. C/395

Stanley Rutana H/393

Seymour “Sy” Saffer B & L/395

Clifford Savage M/393

John Schwab Jr. I/393

James Sedlecky H/395

Carter Smith G/395

Charles Smith 394

Newman Smith C/395

Leon St. Pierre H/395

Charles P. Swann unit unknown

Henry Thomas M/395

Paul Tolovi S/099

Lewis Weible M/393

Stanley White K/393

Samuel Wise Jr. Q/395

“Taps” was sounded by Stewart Boone, followed by prayer.

“Almighty God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, God, Ultimate Authority by whatever name Though are known, hear our prayers of thanks for the lives of those whom we have named. Give them rest and peace in that place where there is neither strife nor warfare.

“Send us forth to bind up the broken-hearted wherever we are, to comfort all who mourn, especially those in our midst who have sounded an ‘amen’ over the loss of a friend.

“Send us forth to create beauty from ashes, so that we might show our loved ones, our neighbors, and even those who might scoff at our efforts, that we have been planted here by the Lord to do the work God has set before us to do on this earth in our day and to do that work for as long as life lasts.

“And now, may the Lord God bless and keep us, may the Lord God show us the paths to take to bring peace where we live, and glory to the God who sent us. Amen.”

The colors were retired.

Last modified Feb. 12, 2010

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