Wreaths Across America plans being finalized
Final plans are in full swing for the Fourth Annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony at 11 a.m. Dec. 14.
This beautiful ceremony, honoring our veterans and fallen heroes everywhere, will be held in the Northeast Louisiana Veterans Cemetery just south of Rayville on Highway 425. Scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. it will coincide with other ceremonies being held around the world at that same time.
The covering of gravesites on special days is a tradition that stretches back for ages. In accordance with that tradition, early that morning the ORLRS-Rhymes Memorial Library members, guests, and other veteran family members will be laying wreaths on the graves of our fallen heroes interred in the Veterans’ Cemetery and in cemeteries all across Northeast Louisiana. We know one wreath will be placed in central Arkansas and several will be placed in Yazoo City, Mississippi. As word spreads, the Board of the ORLRS expects to see more and more gravesites across the area and beyond to be covered by balsam wreaths tied with red bows.
This year those whose lives will be honored are Army Corporal Roy Norman, Marine Corporal Frazier Tony Bailey Ill, both from Rayville; Air Force Master Sergeant Bobby King Jr. of Jonesville; Naval Seaman 1st Class Leonard B. Archibald of Archibald; Coast Guard SPAR Dolly Cass Clayton of Delhi; and all those who served and are serving in the Merchant Marines.
Standing in for the Merchant Marines will be Raymond Blake, Commander of the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars).
P.O.W.-M.I.A. honoree will be Army Private Monroe Cater Jr. of Holly Ridge.
The life of Private Wesley Lisonbee will be recognized as his Blue Star Mother, Christie Simpson Lisonbee, stands in for all the mothers of children in active military duty somewhere in the world.
The life of Naval Petty Officer 3rd Class Lee Hamilton Deal will be recognized as Gold Star Mother Melanie Hamilton Deal stands in for all the mothers who have lost children while on active duty in military service to the nation.
Army Corporal Roy Norman served in the Veterinary Evacuation Hospital Unit during World War II. He spent much of his service time in India. Norman was a native of Richland Parish and husband of ORLRS member, Litwin Norman.
Marine Corporal Frazier Tony Bailey Ill served in various places around the world, as the Field Artillery Fire Control Officer. Bailey was from Rayville and is remembered for his love of sports and education and the influence these have on children and young people. He was the husband of Ms. Catherine Jones Bailey.
Air Force Master Sergeant Bobby King Jr. made a career of the military, serving his country for twenty years and eight months. King was stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah at the time of his retirement. He is survived by his son Jared and his mom Ruth King.
Navy Seaman pt Class Leonard B. Archibald served his country during World War II and was a member of the Navy’s Military Police. His tour of duty was spent in San Diego training as a MP and on the island of Guam guarding Japanese prisoners and securing the base perimeters. He was a Richland Parish native and is remembered as having spent most of his life operating the family store in Archibald.
Coast Guard SPAR Dolly Mae Cass Clayton served her country in the Coast Guard’s Women’s Reserve as a communication’s radio operator. Her active duty took her from training in Palm Beach, Florida to service in Long Beach, California. At age 96, Ms. Dolly remained active until recently when a fall resulted in hip damage and surgery. She now resides in the Deerfield Nursing facility in Delhi.
Army Private Monroe Cater Jr. at age 18 volunteered for service during the Korean Conflict. Several honors were bestowed on young Cater during his brief tenure in service to his country. His division landed on Korean soil on July 5, 1949 and on July 10, 1949, he along others was reported Missing In Action.
Master of Ceremonies for the ceremony will be Richland Chamber of Commerce President Scott Franklin. Opening words will be made by NLVC Director Reverend Tim Johnson with invocation offered by UMC Monroe District Superintendent Gary Willis of Ruston. Singing the national anthem will be Christy Herrington. The benediction will be offered by Dellie Hicks. Keith Welch of Delhi First Baptist Church is expected to sing God Bless America and musician Greg Bennett will play Taps at the end of the program.
Everyone is invited to play a part in this celebration of the lives and service of all veterans everywhere.
Remember the date is Dec. 14.