American Legion to hold Memorial Day program

Published 11:34 am Thursday, May 27, 2021

VALLEY — At 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 31, American Legion Post 67 will be hosting a Memorial Day program in Veterans Park. Former Valley Mayor Arnold Leak will be the guest speaker. He is a decorated helicopter pilot from the Vietnam War era and lost a number of close friends in the conflict.

Four monuments in Veterans Park list the names of local men who died in service to our country during World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Afghanistan/Iraq wars. A total of 93 names are on the four monuments. More than 70 of them died in World War II.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War II, which occurred following the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Email newsletter signup

Brandon Hadaway of Valley is the lone name on the Afghanistan/Iraq monument. He was the crew chief of a Chinook helicopter that was shot down over Afghanistan 14 years ago this month. He was on his third tour or duty and was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star, an Air Medal and a Purple Heart for his service.

A total of 14 young men from the local area died in Vietnam. They include Larry O’Neal Adamson of Fairfax; Richard Lewis Barnes, Five Points; Lewis Andrew Callaway III, West Point; Willie James Foster, West Point; Billy Monroe Cross, Fairfax; John Calvin Halsey, West Point; Larry Edwin Hill, West Point; Wallace Sylvester Little, River View; Jerry Randolph Moon, Lanett; Thomas Larry Senn, Lanett; Wilmer Franklin Simpkins, Fairfax; Roy Edward Thomas, LaFayette and Roy Delano Watts, Lanett.

Post Commander Lanny Bledsoe is inviting everyone, especially local veterans, to come out to the program.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed in the U.S. on the final Monday in the month of May. It unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season with Labor Day marking its end.

Memorial Day honors and mourns military personnel who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day has been observed since 1868. From that first year until 1970, it always took place on May 30.