“America would not be the land of the free, if it were not the home of the brave.” This theme echoed over the flags flowing at Restland Cemetery last Saturday, each representing a veteran from the Waskom area.
The City of Waskom added an extra exclamation point to the Memorial Day Celebration weekend on June 2nd, 2018 as the community gathered together to honor the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Special mention was given to Gunny Sgt. Danny Wyatt (USMC).
The Pledge of Allegiance began with Boy Scout Troop 210, Jay Baker, Eagle Scout, Travis Bister, Star Scout, Colton Prothro, Life Scout with Scout Master Philip Verhalen. Then Scout Troup were joined by Waskom Veterans Blanton M. Ellis, Maj. (Ret.) and John “Bubba” Ross, Maj., (Ret.), Majorie McDaniel (wife), Jill McDaniel-Wardrip (daughter), for Juell “Mac” McDaniel, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Donna Darden-Atkins and Bill Atkins (daughter) Windell Don Darden (USA), in raising and flying our nation’s colors, the State of Texas and the POW flag.
A day set aside as a day of prayer for peace, calendared as the last Monday in the month of May, but extended throughout the month, with special recognition of “National Police Week” and “EMT Week”, saluting our first responders, many of whom are veterans or reservists.
Waskom’s Amanda Jo Johnson launched the tribute with a magnificent rendering of the “National Anthem”. The song was followed by Tammy Lofton, Executive City of Waskom Secretary, speaking on behalf of Mayor Jesse Moore, opened the event in prayer. Waskom Post’s BJ Davis served as Master of Ceremonies.
Special tribute was delivered by Waskom Chief of Police Westy Meisenheimer, in recognition of the late Herbert “Mac” McDaniel, Lt. Col. (Ret.), (1922-2018), who served for over 28 years and saw action in WWII and Korea as a member and officer in the United States Air Force. Survived by his wife of 68 years, Marjorie M. McDaniel, daughters: Lydia (Rickard), Helen Louise, Kathryn (Mike deceased), Majorie, Robin, Susan (Timothy), Jill (Bob), and one son Jack (Kelli), 28 grandchildren, and 45 great grandchildren.
A special message and blessing was given by Chaplain/Harrison County Deputy Sheriff Cruz Vences Jr.
The Patriot Guard of Texas was present, represented by State Captain Bill Parish, (USN).
Amanda Jo Johnson took the helm to sing “God Bless America.”
The closing prayer was provided by Dr. Mary Hughes, Founder and Pastor of the Full Gospel Church of Waskom, which recently celebrated their 24th year of serving the Ark-La-Tex region.
The memorial wreath was laid by Shirley Perkins (Wife) and Lily Perkins (Grand-daughter) for William Perkins, (USA) VVW 987, ushered in by the Waskom Fire Department’s Color Guard, with Deputy Chief Jerry Hall.
Waskom High School Band Director, Don Hardin closed the solemn ceremony with Taps.
All enjoyed refreshments, snacks and cake after the event, looked through photographs of past years and thanked the veterans from the Waskom community.
Waskom Community Producer and Hosts Penny and Tommy Yohn have scheduled this yearly event, celebrating their 9th year of Memorial Day celebrations that traditionally take place every first Saturday after the Memorial Day holiday.