• Last modified 7125 days ago (Jan. 13, 2005)
  • Return to Checkerboard

Memorial service sends patriotic message

The annual memorial service, held Aug. 4, 2004, at the 55th convention of the 99th Infantry Division Association at Biloxi MS, began at 8:30 a.m. with the presentation of colors by sergeant-at-arms Del Stumpff and Jesse Coulter and past presidents.

President Bob Hawn led the recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance.

Chaplain Joe Johnson gave the call to worship:

"Invisible God, give us hearts to see the things our eyes overlook. Open our hearts to feel the things our hands can't touch. Open our hearts to hear the still small voice which sounds like only silence to our listening ears. Teach us to know You for what You really area — not flash or thunder, but love, softly spoken, flowing like a fountain, bathing the soul and skin. Amen."

The Checkerboard Chorus presented "American Tears."

Johnson shared words to remember:

The long road traveled, 1944-2004

Where were you 60 years ago today? Do you remember? Let me refresh your memory. Some of us were in Camp Maxey getting ready to ship overseas. Furloughs were canceled. We boarded a troop train that headed east and then north. We wound up at Camp Myles Standish, a POE on the east coast. We were going to that European theater of operations.

We next landed at Liverpool, England, and were carted to a camp somewhere near Blandford, England. Although time has dulled my memory, I think we were there for a few weeks. English girls, English traffic, English customs, etc.

We were packed up and sent across the English Channel to LeHavre, France. We were loaded on Army trucks and carried up to the front lines in Belgium and then into the Ardennes forest.

For four or five weeks everything was relatively calm. Then all hell broke loose. We were at the focal point of what was later called the Battle of the Bulge. It did not matter what your specialty was. Everyone got involved in a hurry. Normally there are 15 men behind every infantryman on the front lines. In this situation everyone was on the front lines. We won't go into details of exactly what happened, because if you were there a lot of those things are etched in your memory forever and do not need to be repeated here. Those of us who are here were the lucky ones. Those who did not make it home were the real heroes and we must never forget them.

Most of us who survived were able to make it home in late 1945, or sometime in 1946. During our time overseas a common bond gradually grew among many of the soldiers of the 99th Infantry Division. It continued after we returned to our great country. As a result, our first official reunion was held in 1949, in Pittsburgh. Since then we have had a reunion every year and this one here is our 55th annual. We have held them in the east. We have held them in the west. We have held them in the Midwest. We have held them in the south. We will continue to hold them as long as there are some of us who can continue to join together in celebration as men of the 99th in memory of those who have gone ahead to live forever in the paradise of God.

But let's get realistic. How long can we continue? Those of us here today who were with the 99th when it first went to Belgium, with few exceptions, are now 80 or more years of age. Although we want to go on forever, it will perhaps be only in the history books or in the memory of our offspring or other friends who are much younger, that we have met in our years of traveling the road of life, both in our beloved country as well as throughout the world.

Although it may be tough to accept, we must prepare the way for the time when we are no longer around. So how do we do it?

First of all, let's take the necessary steps to repair the broken fences around us. We all know that families many times have differences of opinion which can easily lead to friction and hurt feelings that can cause a split between members of our family and friends.

Let's make sure that we are on good terms with all of our family members and friends as well as the different people we have met and kept in touch with over the years. Learn to forgive those who have hurt us in many little ways. Shake hands with them. Hug them. Tell them you love them.

Remember that the 10 Commandments are for each one of us. Our great country was built on those commandments. If you don't believe that then all you have to do is read the history of our country. Then you will see why it is really the greatest country in the world. If you have an opportunity, I suggest you take a tour of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and take note of the decor that includes many plaques on walls and doors throughout the building containing those 10 Commandments.

Yes, it was up to us to pave the way for the future of our great country, not through the avenue of war, but through the life we lived, praying for strength and wisdom to deal with the challenges of things like 9/11 and Iraq, and let us not forget all those other challenges we have met and are meeting on almost a daily basis. Things like our own health and welfare; or the losing of a loved one. In the time left for us, recognize that a life of forgiveness and brotherly love is a thousand times better than any kind of violence or destruction.

In your daily walk of life, may God lead the way, and may you be on the pathway every step of the way.


Those to remember

Claude Abel B/394

Herbert B. Allen N/395

John Artley L/394

Philip J. Bandi I/394

Donald J. Gates 99th Recon

Eugene C. Black B/395

Albert Brainard B/393

Bill Bray L/394

Joseph Carusone C/372

Fred J. Connell C/393

George Connell QM/324

Thomas Cores I/395

Harry Crossey Med/394

James W. Dempster QM/395

Jack Dixon F/395

William Flannery D/394

Dale Fisher C/393

Murray Fox C/393

Robert G. Fowler 370 FA

Alphoonso Garcia QM/371

Calvin Beard G/393

L. Hinson Gunning B/371 FA

Robert "Skeeter" Guza C/372

John E. Hall C/370

Arthur Halldin S/395

Charles E. "Gene" Hill Q/924

Albert J. Humphrey G/394

Newton Ince C/324

Charles M. Jackson QM/Med

William Jackson C/324

Alvin E. Jones 2nd Bn/394

Kenneth Juhl L/393

Garland "Buddy" Ketron A/324

Virgil C. Kennedy 3/395

Charles F. King Q/099

James F. Klingenberger K/395

John R. Kochner L/395

William Kresal H/394

Harold Kurtz Unit Unknown

George Leap QM/372

John Lisinski Jr. 99 QM

Mike Marcos Sr. C/393

Paul D. Martin A/372 FA

Francis May 3/394

Joseph D. McNulty B/371

Roger H. Meyer L/393

Robert Mikesell H/393

R.H. "Doc" Mobley G/395

Dominic Moncuso I/395

Woodrow Monn B/394

Joseph Moore B/371

Paul S. Moore F/394

Ellis Newton Can/394

Ross Patton B/395

Frank H. Paulin S/370

Dr. Ed "Ned" Potter Jr. E/394

Richard Reck MED

Wilbur Register H/393

Edward Rusinek J/099

Michael Rosul 2/394

Edmond L. Royston I/393

Frank T. Rupnik E/324

Oliver Sacco K/394

Alec Seabourne H/395

Charles Seefeldt F/395

Robert Singer C/324

John Sorich 3/394

Robert Spronk N/395

Edward Starch 99th Recon

Earl W. Stein H/393

Edward J. Stein S/395

Earl Howard Starry N/393

Hershell Stout Unit Unknown

Rev. Clarence Stephens 395

Robert Stuffi D/393

Bobbie Sweat H/393

Casimir Truman 99 QM

Odis B. Tucker N/393

John E. "Pete" Webb Sr. 370

Walter Wengzen S/371

Raymond L. White K/395

Gerald Whitecotton QM/395

Rex Whitehead H/394

George Wilhoit Jr. B/393

James R. Wilson A/324

Robert E. Wright E/395

Rudy Zehnder C/395

Prayer of intercession

Oh God, the time has come to ask for solace, peace of mind;

There is no greater source than Thee to rid the ties that bind.

Our cares at times do give us pause to change our worldy ways;

For in our days on earth we see great proof of Your bright rays.

Remembering all that has gone past we ask for grace today;

For in our striving we have found there's only one true way.

The end we ask is Heaven above where all is right and free;

That in the end when we ascend our cares be given to Thee.

So may Your peace and joy come here to show us Your true will;

As we ascend to come to You please give us all our fill.

And finally on that blessed day when we reach out to You,

We find the answer we have sought: Your time with us is true.

Bert Burda, Checkerboard chorus director, shared a prayer for the nation. The chorus and congregation sang "America the Beautiful."

While the past presidents retired the colors, Johnson read "The Way to Peace and Love."

There is no thinking person

Who can stand untouched today

And view the world around us

Slowly drifting to decay

Without feeling deep within them

A silent, unnamed dread

As they contemplate the future

That lies frighteningly ahead

And as the 'clouds of chaos'

Gather in man's muddled mind,

And he searches for the answer

He alone can never find

Let us recognize we're facing

Problems man has never solved,

And with our daily efforts

Life grows more and more involved,

But our future will seem brighter

And we'll meet with less resistance

If we call upon our Father

And seek divine assistance

For the spirit can unravel

Many tangled, knotted threads

That defy the skill and power

Of the world's best hands and heads,

And our plans for growth and progress,

Of which we all have dreamed,

Cannot survive materially

Unless our spirits are redeemed . . .

For only when the mind of man

Is united with the soul

Can love and peace combine to make

Our lives complete and whole.


"God be with you till we meet again.

By His counsels, guide, uphold you,

With His sheep securely fold you.

God be with you till we meet again.

God be with you till we meet again,

If life's trials should confound you,

God will put His arms around you.

God be with you till we meet again."