Thank you for your service

By BY MARK H. STOWERS COLUMNIST,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Military Veterans are becoming fewer and fewer.

The brave men and women who left the warmth and safety of America and gathered on foreign soil to keep us free are owed quite a bit.

Mostly our gratitude and keeping their honor and service and memory in the forefront of America as we move forward. My father served in the Army after WWII and just after the Korean War being stationed in Germany.

He told colorful stories of the food but only gave glimpses of his life as an Army MP and his duty guarding General Anthony McAuliffe.

He did tell me he was given shoot to kill orders for anyone approaching the compound but never had to exercise those orders. In the town of Inverness, the men who came home from the World Wars used that discipline to shape and mold and build a community that took care of its residents.

One Veteran, Inverness native Crosby Simmons, has been part of a team taking care of the town’s War Memorial that honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a debt he feels he owes to the men who made him a man.

“I would rather not be known for doing this because everybody I talk to had someone in the war and I tell them, ‘this is for your daddy.’ It was initially for KIA (Killed in Action) but there are so many just at Hickory Grove – that’s a quarter of our population – that has served our country. You can’t give more than that and yes, they served the United States but what it boils down to is I swear before God Almighty that I’m going to protect the people of Inverness. I owe this town. I couldn’t have grown up in a better place and it’s because of those men and their wives. They all took care of one another. They were a true band of brothers.”

He noted that the cemetery was “full of folks with Silver Stars and Bronze Medals and they need to be recognized too.”

Simmons was chosen to be the fundraiser for the project and the Lions Club and Rotary Club are both working and challenging each other. He’s honored to help honor and remember those families of heroes he grew up around.

“I ate breakfast at Mr. PK McGregor’s house, Mutt Logan’s house, I hung around Buddy Farmer’s (gas station/mechanic) – man, I was around heroes. I grew up  around Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, paratroopers, B29 Bomber Pilots – everything that was in my fiber about heroes, I grew up around. I didn’t realize it, they were all special people. But they didn’t talk about it much. They all deserve recognition before they are forgotten. Mr. Bubby Baird, Mr. C.W. King or Mr. Jim Gary – nobody’s going to remember them but if we can bring something to their attention now and kids ask the question of why we’re doing this we can tell them. And when your grandkids ask you what those cannons are for down there, hopefully one of y’all will remember.”

Anyone interested can donate, time, money, materials, services or anything to help with the project.

To donate, contact the Inverness Chamber of Commerce in care of Bill Kennedy, P.O. Box 13, Inverness, MS 38753. Call them at (662) 265-5741.  To contact via email: ICC@IN-MS.org. We honor our living Veterans on Veterans Day and continue to honor them and their service by memorializing those who came before them, to keep us all free.

Thank you for your service.

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