With These Flags and Crosses We Remember Our Fallen

NEMiss.News Union Co. Courthouse 2023 Patriot Day


There are 126 names on the Union County War Memorial. Each gave their last full measure:

· 31 from World War I

· 77 from World War II

· 6 from the Korean War

· 9 from the Vietnam War and

· 3 from the Gulf Wars.

Of the 126,

· 75 of them were Killed in Action

· 13 died from non-battle circumstances

· 9 were wounded in battle resulting in their deaths

· 12 died of disease and

· 17 deaths were listed as unknown causes.

NEMiss.News Union Co. War Memorial

Union County War Memorial
photo Kendall Stancil

George Hayward Thornton was Union County’s first casualty of World War II. He was killed in action on board the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

In September, 1942, 71 Union County men who had been recently inducted into the US Army were on a 14-day furlough before being shipped out overseas. Six of these Union Countians along with 30 other crewmembers were on board an LST laden with ammunition just off Anzio Beach, Italy, when the ship struck a mine and sank. All were killed. But the body of one Union County soldier was found.

John Carlton Fortune’s body was recovered by an Italian girl. From documents on his body, she was able to obtain an address for his parents. She wrote a letter with a portion as follows:

“On April 4th of 1944, the sea cast ashore the corpse of an American Soldier. I think you will be glad to know that your dear soldier is not dispersed in the immense sea, but he reposes in the little church yard of Pietra Ligure full of sun and flowers.”

If they could talk, every name on this monument would have a story to tell. But they can’t talk, so we must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of these one hundred twenty six lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for their country.

NEMiss.News Union Co. War Memorial

Union County War Memorial
photo Kendall Stancil

By remembering their service and their sacrifice, The American Legion Potter-Henry-Lowrey Post 72 and Unit 72 recognize the tradition of freedom these men fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized. When these crosses and flags are placed, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.

It’s important to remember all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have fallen in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives to protect the highest of ideals, and to keep all of us safe from enemies near and abroad.

About: 2023 Patriot Day Services at Magnolia Civic Center

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