In Nov. 13-19 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The new bronze "Doughboy" monument was rededicated Tuesday evening as more than 350 onlookers gathered together in chilly downtown Jamestown for a Veteran's Day memorial ceremony around Monument Square.
The long awaited service began with music from the Russell County High School Mighty Laker Band and opening remarks by Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates.
"We're proud to be the custodian of this wonderful statue," he said. Bates gave a rundown on the history of the "Doughboy" statue from its origins after World War I and described the horrific scene of February this year when Jamestown's former statue was destroyed.
The original zinc Jamestown "Doughboy" was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1937, making it nearly 71 years old before it was struck by a truck being operated by an alleged drunk driver.
Five present individuals raised their hands as being present on the dedication day back in 1937.
One of those was Eva Bradshaw of Jamestown. She was 11 years old when she attended the first dedication in 1937.
"I couldn't miss it. I was here for the first one and I had to be here for this one, too," Bradshaw said. "I think it's so pretty. They've really done a good job."
Mayor Bates agreed.
"The American Legion, they took the lead," he said. "(Post 133) Commander Jeff Reeder and Vice Commander Dan Woodruff and Haven Coffey all need to be commended."
Post Chaplain Leon Simpson led the prayer before the high schools Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps color guard presented the parade of colors as the national anthem was sung by James Bean, a teacher at the high school.
Bobby Dunbar and his daughter, Jera, sang a song written by Dunbar, himself, entitled "The American Flag" that brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance. The Laker Band also performed the Armed Forces Salute for all branches of military veterans.
Vice Commander Woodruff spoke on the process of erecting the new "Doughboy" and the new flagpole and announced that the steps to the monument had been re-poured and a handicap accessible ramp also was installed up to the statue.
"The lights were added to illuminate the flag," he said. "I would like to thank all the people of Russell County who have supported the Legion during this restoration."
Woodruff thanked Judge-Executive Mickey Garner, the fiscal court, and the city leaders from Jamestown and Russell Springs as well as the Chamber of Commerce and the many businesses, churches and individuals who donated monetarily to the cause of restoring the monument.
American Legion Commander Jeff Reeder reminded the large crowd of why they attended the event.
"In 1937, there were only 14 names on that monument … today there is 69 names on that monument," Reeder said. "We will not let time take from us the pride and honor we have for those that gave their life for our country."
"I encourage each of you to take time to reflect on what this monument represents," he said. "It is not a monument to a town, a county or a state, but is a monument dedicated to those that have demonstrated acts of honor, courage and enduring will to do what needed to be done."
Reeder then introduced the dignitaries and honored guests, State Rep. Jeff Hoover, State Sen. Vernie McGaha, Judge-Executive Mickey Garner, Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart, Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates as well as two sons of the late Sgt. Alvin York, Andrew and George York. York, a decorated World War I hero, was at the original dedication in 1937.
American Legion District 11 Commander Donald Butler gave an opening speech where he said he was deeply honored to follow in the footsteps of veterans that had come before him.
"In the American Legion, it is our responsibility to prepare the way for those that come after us," Butler said. Butler reminded the crowd that service men and women were currently serving their country and were in harm's way and to always be praying for these brave people.
Retired Navy Captain Robert King, the NJROTC senior naval science teacher at the high school, spoke on the origin and meaning of Veteran's Day as well as some things the military is currently involved in.
"This is a very special day," King said. "Today we honor the service of all those who have given more, in some cases everything, to realize and to sustain the dream that is America," King said.
After speaking to the crowd for some time, King honored all veterans present at the ceremony as the crowd gave those a loud ovation.
Local musician Ricky Mann then performed a song entitled "Thank You" that he wrote for the special occasion as a tribute to the veterans.
Following the music, George York, who was 14 years old in 1937 when his father dedicated the original Jamestown statue, dedicated the new bronze "Doughboy."
"I hope when you pass this "Doughboy" everyday when you go by that you're reminded of the supreme sacrifice that many have paid in order that you and I might stand on these grounds today," York said.
Upon the finishing of York's comments, the new statue, which had been covered, was unveiled to the crowd as Ronald Burton read aloud the names of those Russell Countians who died for their country.
Staff Sgt. Jerry Bray and PFC Contessia Meza, both of Russell County, then laid a wreath at the base of the monument.
Following the laying of the wreath, taps was played by Daniel Emerson and the service came to a fitting close.
The symbolic statue will now continue to stand in Monument Square as Jamestown is one of only four locations to have a "Doughboy" in the center of intersections.
Jamestown's new "Doughboy" statue will be one of more than 130 located around the country as memorials to the local communties' war dead, honoring those who gave their lives in service.
Officially known as "The Spirit of the American Doughboy," the sculpture was designed by E. M. Viquesney, designed to honor the veterans and casualties of World War I.
The original Jamestown statue, a zinc version, was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1937, making the dedication on Tuesday 71 years to the day the first one was dedicated.
As the service ended, the Russell County Mothers Against Drunk Driving held a candlelight vigil of remembrance for those that have lost their lives due to a drunk driver.