By PJ Martin
Metcalfe County Memorial Day ceremonies were held on Sunday, May 28th at 1:30 p.m. in the historic courthouse yard.
Bill Lagermann Commander of American Legion Post 65 welcomed everyone to the ceremony followed by the Metcalfe County High School band playing our country’s beautiful National Anthem. Everyone followed along as the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken followed by the prayer led by Roger McKinney.
Lagermann acknowledged those contributing to the occasion and presented a flag to Brooks Fuller who has in the past brought his restored vintage Jeep in honor of his father. He thanked Girl Scout Troop 205 members for assisting, the creator of the lovely wreath for the memorial, and the Metcalfe County High School Band and their director Tiffany Riggins,
Next, in recognition of those who lost their lives in service to this country, Charles Costello of VFW Post 6281 read their names. The monument is inscribed with those names.
WWI – Edward Breeding, Lenus Bragg, Milton Thomas Hodges, Virgie Janes, Eugene S. Jones, James H. Kinnaird, Frank Henry Royce, and Chris Witty
WWII – Jack Cassady, Ben Coleman, Robert England, Wiley Estes, Cecil Ferrell, Otis Fields, Kelly Garmon, James Hoover, Arnold Hurt, Kenneth Knipp, Billy Frank Leamon, Russell Leftwich, Albert Richardson, Weldon Scott, and Howard Syra
Viet Nam – Richard Donald Lawson, Billy Wayne Smith, and Larry Rutherford
Iraq – Eric Toth
The service was honored to have guest speaker Major Paul Smith (retired) who was presented with an American flag by Bill Lagermann.
Smith who has had a long career in the Marines was born in Lewisville, Texas in 1949. Smith joined the Marines in September 1968 after which he trained in San Diego and at Camp Pendleton in California. He was then assigned to India Company, 3rd Battalion, and 5th Marine Regiment where he served for 13 months in the Republic of Viet Nam. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with combat Valor, and the Purple Heart.
He then returned to the US and served with American Embassies in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Beirut, Lebanon where he earned the Navy Commendation Medal after the embassy was attacked.
Smith attended Electronics and Aviation Radar Repair schools where he graduated first in his class and was later transferred to the Brigade Service Support Group in Kaneohe, Hawaii where he served as the Electronic Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer, and Executive Officer.
In 1973, he reported to Okinawa, Japan, and later served out his career in Hawaii where he was promoted to Major and received the Outstanding Career Marine Officer of the Year medal. He retired in 1990.
He and his wife Glenda reside in Columbia, Kentucky where he has been an advisor for DeMolay International for young men ages 12-21 for 30 years. He is also a member of the Shriner’s and volunteers to raise money for the Shriner’s Hospital of Kentucky.
Smith is also a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and is a 33rd-Degree Mason. The highest degree one can earn.
It was truly an honor to have Major Paul Smith speak at the Memorial Service.
The last item on the agenda was to draw for the winners of new American Flags as part of a Thrivent Action Team event and Major Smith graciously drew the names. The winners were Ken Childers, Roger Chaney, Grace Abner, Richard Garrett, Angela Welsh, and Willard Parnell.