Oct 2, 2017
Brooke Griffin | The Parthenon
Ceremonial shots were fired, flags were raised and statues were unveiled at Milton’s Veterans Memorial Park Sunday evening.
Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, spoke about how excited he is for this space on Route 60 to be the home of something this special.
“Seeing the bench and two statues sitting beside the hundreds of names that died serving our country brings so many emotions out,” said Williams. “It’s so different to see the names in their entirety because it makes you realize how blessed America really is.”
The three monuments revealed each had their own meaning. The first memorial on the left of the grounds is a bench memorializing those who have fallen. The middle statue is a soldier taking a knee and the third statue on the right of the grounds is a military gun and boots.
“So many soldiers had to take a knee several times to avoid falling completely out of grief,” said Sgt. William Smith, a Korean War Veteran. “When you witness your friend’s death, it is both respectful and unavoidable to take a knee. So many soldiers never got the chance to pay their respects.”
Speakers for the evening included not only Williams but also Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury who said the memorial is long overdue and he could not be happier to be part of the dedication.
Dozens of people showed up to show support for the veterans being honored and ended up getting a little extra treat at the end. Williams was celebrating his 94th birthday with cake and fellowship after the ceremony.
“I don’t feel 94 at all,” said Williams. “It seems like yesterday I was going to parties and dating all of Ona’s prettiest girls. I really am grateful for everything that I have gotten to do in my short time here. I would have never imagined I would be standing here today.”
Williams said he looks forward to another year and is excited to be able to drive by the new Memorial Park every day.