UDC holds memorial service

Submitted photoIn attendance at the memorial service were, front row, left to right: Penny Gaskins, Dianne Ponder, Sheila Tucker; second row, Felton Alvin Massey, Edward Thomas Barrow Jr., Johnny Mitchell Gardner, Kenneth Monroe Robison; third row, Walter Albert Parrish, Phillip Randall Booker, Francis Aldridge Gibson, Kenneth Troy Barfield. Also honored was Ronnie Marvin Bannister.

The John B. Gordon Chapter 383 United Daughters of the Confederacy held its 144th Confederate Memorial Day Service on April 14 in honor of their Confederate ancestors and veterans of all wars. The service was held in the chapel of First United Methodist Church Chapel. Guests were greeted and programs distributed by Franci Mari Carter.

Doris Davies performed the Prelude of period and patriotic music before the service. Joe Ashcraft, piper, performed “Holy Manna,” as chapter members and Military Medal Recipients entered the sanctuary. The recipients were escorted by Confederate Memorial Day Chairman Dianne Ponder.

John B. Gordon Chapter 383 Past President Sheila Tucker welcomed the assembly. The National Anthem was led by Emily Smith. Pledges to the United States flag, state of Georgia flag and salute to the First National Flag were led by Anita Ward.

The colors were presented by Johnny Mack Butler, Kenneth Crawford, James Oates, Howard Crawford and John Ulrick, Honor Guard members of American Legion Post 122 in Cairo. Deborah Phillips gave the invocation followed by singing “Dixie’s Land” led by Emily Smith.

Chapter Recorder of Military Service Awards Penny Gaskins, Tucker and Ponder presented Crosses of Military Service Medals and National Defense Service Medals to:

Kenneth Troy Barfield No. 4099 — Vietnam Conflict, Sergeant, 557th Signal Company, United States Army; great-great-grandson of Corporal James J. King, Company B, 17th Georgia Infantry.

Edward Thomas Barrow Jr. No. 4100 — Vietnam Conflict, Sergeant, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry, 199th Infantry Brigade United States Army; great-great-grandson of Sergeant Augustus S. Avant, Company B, 28th Georgia Infantry

Johnny Mitchell Gardner No. 4106 — Vietnam Conflict, Seaman, U.S.S. Schofield (DEG-E), United States Navy; great-great-grandson of Pvt. Elijah Tillman, Co. H, 50th Georgia Infantry and Cpt. Tillman’s Co. 11th Cavalry, State Guards

Kenneth Monroe Robison No. 4101 — Vietnam Conflict, Specialist 4, 199th Infantry Brigade, United States Army; great-grandson of Pvt. John M. Robison, Capt. Dunham’s Company, Milton Lt. Artillery, Florida

Ronnie Marvin Bannister No. 4102 — Vietnam Conflict, Staff Sergeant, Marine Reconnaissance Squadron 3, United States Marine Corps; great-great-grandson of Corporal Daniel C. Alligood, Company H, 50th Georgia Infantry

National Defense Medals

Phillip Randall Booker No. 2837 —  Vietnam Conflict, Sergeant, 3700 Civil Engineer Group, Air Training Command, United States Air Force; great-grandson of Pvt. Elijah A. Booker, Company E, 57th Georgia Infantry

Francis Aldridge Gibson No. 2838 — Vietnam Conflict, Airman First Class, 1605 Core Automated Maintenance Systems, Military Airlift Command, United States Air Force; great-great-grandson of Pvt. Joshua Hudson, Company I, 43rd North Carolina Infantry

Felton Alvin Massey No. 2843 — Vietnam Conflict, Specialist 5, Company E, School Brigade, Sustainment Command, United States Army; great-great-grandson of Pvt. George W. Tucker, Tillman’s Company, 11th Cavalry, Georgia State Guard

Walter Albert Parrish No. 2839 — Vietnam Conflict, Specialist 5, Company B, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, United States Army Europe; great-great-grandson, Sergeant Absolom Parrish, Company I, 50th Georgia Infantry

Special tributes were given by chapter members. Camille Davis presented the Tribute to Confederate Veterans and Tribute to the Children of the Confederacy was presented by Lois Hand. Gaskins presented the Tribute to Veterans of All Wars. Anita Ward presented the Tribute to States Supporting the Confederacy in order of secession, as flowers were placed by Charlotte Brown and presented the tribute to UDC members.

Emily Smith led the assembly in singing Gen. Robert E. Lee’s favorite hymn, “How Firm A Foundation,” accompanied by Doris Davies, pianist.

Tucker introduced speaker, James Gaskins, whose topic was “A Look Back, A Look Forward.”

The benediction was given by Deborah Phillips followed with “Taps” performed by trumpeter John Gray. The service was completed by retiring the colors. The recessional was led by Joe Ashcraft, piper performing “The Bonnie Blue Flag.”

Following the service a reception was held honoring the Medal Recipients and guests. Dorothy Maxwell, Chairman Reception Committee and chapter members prepared and served refreshments.

All nine medal recipients are members of the graduating Class of 1966 from Central High School.

There were many classmates in attendance to congratulate the medal recipients and thank them for their service.

Dennis Hicks and Kenneth Phelps, also from the Class of 1966, were recipients of Military Service Medals in 2017.

The chapel service was well-attended by friends and family of the military medal recipients, as well as UDC members. Each year, an open invitation is extended to the public to attend the Memorial Day service, as it is an opportunity for the residents of Thomas County and the surrounding areas to attend and personally give honor to veterans of all wars but mainly remember their Confederate ancestors.

A note of gratitude was extended to the armed forces serving all over the world.

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