As American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan wars winds down, more than 130,000 men and women will be separated from our military services this year, Col. David L. Musgrave, commander of the Pine Bluff Arsenal, told a Veterans Day service Monday at the White Hall Museum’s Veterans Monument.
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have launched programs to assist veterans as they return to civilian life, he added.
“It is our duty” to respond to the needs of the veterans, who “drew their courage from the wellspring of history,” Musgrave told more than 100 active and retired military personnel and their families attending the annual ceremony.
Glen Minor, post commander of American Legion Post 232 in White Hall and past commander of the Arkansas American Legion, told the assembled veterans that a soldier whose name was carved in the nearby monument honoring Jefferson County veterans had died Friday in Arlington, Texas.
James Lamar Stone was born Dec. 27, 1922, in Pine Bluff and received the Medal of Honor for his heroism displayed the evening of Nov. 21, 1951, when his platoon’s hilltop outpost in Korea was overrun in an assault by hundreds of Chinese troops.
The 28-year-old lieutenant was shot three times in the assault, the medal citation read, and was taken prisoner and held for 22 months, Minor stated.
Stone survived to spend nearly 30 years in the Army, rising to the rank of colonel.
The names of White Hall residents killed and missing in action were read during the service.
White Hall Mayor Noel Foster praised the service of the veterans to their country.
The motorcycle groups Fallen Riders, ABATE and Genesis were scheduled to conduct a ride-in salute to the veterans.
Boe Fontaine of White Hall, who served two tours in Vietnam during a career in the Marine Corps from 1959 to 1980, was unable to attend the service because of illness, Foster said. Fontaine is a former sheriff of Jefferson County.
The Rev. Paul Williams, pastor of White Hall’s First Baptist Church, also paid tribute to those who lost their lives in service to their country.
Richard Bailey and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Brass Quintet performed during the service and Sgt. Maj. Larry Adams and the White Hall High School Junior ROTC detachment presented the colors.
Lewie Brown, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4455, placed the memorial wreath with the assistance of the ROTC detachment.