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Vets, emergency workers honored

November 03, 2010
A ceremony honoring Crawford County's veterans, firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs and dispatchers was held at Lincoln Hills United Methodist Church, west of English, on Oct. 17.

The annual event, organized by Carol Benham, brought out a large crowd of participants, their families and supporters.

The program began with a VFW Color Guard recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Fireman's Prayer, read by Chaplin Carson Brown. Benham welcomed everyone, then introduced Master's Men, a singing group that performed several songs during the event. Then, the leaders of each agency read a roll call.

The Leavenworth, Marengo, Milltown and English Volunteer Fire Department roll calls were given by the fire chief of each department. Former Emergency Management Agency Director Ralph Seacat and current Director Kent Barrow read the roll calls for the E-911 dispatchers and EMTs. Crawford County Sheriff Tim Wilkerson then read the roll calls for all police officers in the county, including his deputies, Indiana State Police troopers, Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and town marshals.

VFW Post 6160 Post Commander Clayton East gave a roll call for veterans who are members of the VFW.

"This is something I'm really proud to be a part of," Benham said. "It's really something special to see those people who risk their lives almost daily for the rest of us get some recognition and thanks. The ringing of the bell for deceased firefighters, police officers and veterans was an emotional part of the service, but when English firefighter Don Burnham, who is a Vietnam veteran, read a poem titled 'Dedicated to a Friend,' there wasn't a dry eye in the place."

The poem was written several years ago by Sgt. James Angelini, a Vietnam veteran, who served with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles).

"Many, many years ago, I found myself in a land I didn't know

Sent by people who didn't care about me — to fight for other's liberty

A land so strange and far away — I'll remember it until my dying day

While Vietnam is its given name — we veterans all refer to it the same

The 'Nam became the call — for this land where so many would stand and fall

To risk our limbs and lives as well, we spent our time in that damn hell

I tried hard and did my best, like all the others put to the test

Some walked, some rode and others flew, doing jobs nobody wanted to do

We laughed, we cried, we were scared as well — in the 'Nam our personal hell

Many years have come and gone, but inside of me, the 'Nam lives on

Memories of the pain and the death — are still able to take away my breath

My buddies lying on the ground — the sight of their blood all around

Young bodies broken, torn and smashed — dying in the tall elephant grass

12,000 miles from his home — he cried for his mother and died alone

We loaded his body in a bag — and placed it on the 'chopper' for his last ride

Silently watching as the 'chopper' flew away — I wanted to cry, but couldn't that day

For in the jungle, the battle raged on — and I had to go and kill the Viet Cong

Back home his Mom and Dad did cry — and asked each other why? Oh why?

The Honor Guard stood by the flag — that draped the casket with his body inside

The Firing Squad's volley then did fly — one last tribute to he who has died

Sadly we listened to the sound of Taps — but nothing they could do could bring him back

They opened the ground and laid him within — he was now back home with his family again

Their tears flowed caused by their grief — but they were unable to bring them relief

Another day, another death — another young soldier laid to rest

As a young soldier standing strong — I mistakenly believed that crying was wrong

I held my pain deep within — awaiting the day it will rise again

While my buddy is now dead and gone — my thoughts and love for him lives on

My buddy and I are never apart — I carry him always deep in my heart

He's found his Peace and for that I'm glad — for he's my buddy, the best I ever had

The time will come, I just don't know when — but I too will find Peace

And be with my buddy again"

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