White Hall service honors veterans, fallen

A large crowd gathered Monday on the grounds of the White Hall museum to celebrate the service of military men and women and to honor those veterans who gave their lives for our country.

The roar of motorcycles could be heard as members of ABATE, Fallen Riders and Genesis saluted veterans by riding in with flags flying.

White Hall Mayor Noel Foster took a moment to thank everyone who made the event possible. He gave a special thanks to veterans saying, “We are a community that appreciates our veterans, so thank you.”

Lt. Col. Diego Gonzalez, chief medical officer and physician in charge at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, was the guest speaker. Gonzalez began his speech by holding up a small work of art that he pulled from his pocket. He spoke of this “memento” fondly because it was created by Harry Sy Joe, an Air Force veteran

and honored guest at last year’s Memorial Day event who has since passed away.

“We carry mementos to remember our veterans,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez spoke of Memorial Day and the reasons for honoring veterans at this time of the year saying: “Spring and the fast approaching move into summer is a time of renewal and strength after a fall and winter of loss and silence.”

He went on to say, “We must take a cue from these symbols of growth and proclaim today the day to tell the stories of soldiers who are no longer able to enjoy the new life that spring brings.”

Gonzalez emphasized the importance of not only honoring those who died in combat or during service but also those who lived beyond their service years but are no longer with us. He also spoke of the surviving families of fallen soldiers and their strength to carry on after such loss and heartbreak.

Guests were then asked to look to the sky and wave their flags as the Razorback Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association conducted a flyover slightly ahead of schedule.

“Amazing Grace” could be heard as wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial by Glen Minor and Sydney and Hyden Foster.

A bell toll was sounded for each solider who was killed or missing in action as dormer Jefferson County Sheriff Boe Fontaine announced their names.

In honor of those veterans in attendance, an armed forces medley was played and members of each branch were asked to stand as they heard their anthem.

The ceremonies came to a close with a final salute to the colors as Dr. Richard Bradley performed Taps on trumpet.