Steve Larsen plays taps at the end of Purple Heart Ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight
Steve Larsen plays taps at the end of Purple Heart Ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight

Purple Heart program pays tribute to veterans

Published 1:29pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Honor for 147 recipients of Purple Heart medals was verbalized by the singing of patriotic songs, sounds from a silver bell and recognition of family members at a Purple Heart Ceremony in Hartselle Saturday.

The event is sponsored annually by the Finis J. Self Order of the Purple Heart, Unit 2212, representing Morgan and Cullman Counties.

Recipients were honored individually with each name being read, followed by the sounding of a bell. Calling the names were Hartselle Mayor Don Hall, Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, and State Representatives Ed Henry of Hartselle and Terri Collins of Decatur.

Names of six additional recipients were read and honored for the first time. They were Elton D. White, Korea; Jeffrey A. Hall, Afghanistan; Jantzen M. Frazier, Iraq; and three Purple Heart chapter members who passed away over the past year: Wayne S. Lackey, Korea; Howard Burks, World War II; and Lonnie McMinn, World War II.

A presentation of the “empty chair at the table” was given by World War II POW George Mills, with assistance from Woody Carpenter. It honored those Americans still held as prisoners of war and those Americans missing in action.

Guest speaker was retired Lt. Col. Mike Bowers.

He presented a brief history of the Order of the Purple Heart and urged his listeners to “always remember our veterans.”

The ceremony was conducted at the Purple Heart Memorial in Sparkman Park.

The Priceville High School JROTC Color Guard posted the colors. SFC Donna Johnson sang “The National Anthem” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic. ENell Baker sang “Spirit of America.”

Unit 2212 Commander served as emcee, and Steve Larsen closed the program with the playing of taps.

Buffalo Soldier Calvin Smith represented the Honey Bears unit at the Purple Heart Ceremony in Hartselle Saturday. | Clif Knight
Buffalo Soldier Calvin Smith represented the Honey Bears unit at the Purple Heart Ceremony in Hartselle Saturday. | Clif Knight
Sierra Mason, Amy Maddox, Bethany Aldridge and Sarah Sanders, Priceville High School JROTC color guard, raise the American flag at Saturday’s Purple Heart Memorial ceremony in Hartselle. | Clif Knight
Sierra Mason, Amy Maddox, Bethany Aldridge and Sarah Sanders, Priceville High School JROTC color guard, raise the American flag at Saturday’s Purple Heart Memorial ceremony in Hartselle. | Clif Knight
Ron and Helen Dingler attend the Purple Heart Ceremony in memory of his father, Warner F. Dingler, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. | Clif Knight
Ron and Helen Dingler attend the Purple Heart Ceremony in memory of his father, Warner F. Dingler, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. | Clif Knight
U.S. Army Col. Mike Bowers, (Ret) left, was guest speaker at the Purple Heart Ceremony in Hartselle Saturday. Clifford Gissell, Unit 2212 commander, emceed the program. | Clif Knight
U.S. Army Col. Mike Bowers, (Ret) left, was guest speaker at the Purple Heart Ceremony in Hartselle Saturday. Clifford Gissell, Unit 2212 commander, emceed the program. | Clif Knight
World War II POW George Mills describes the symbolism of items placed on the POW/MIA table at the Purple Heart Ceremony. | Clif Knight
World War II POW George Mills describes the symbolism of items placed on the POW/MIA table at the Purple Heart Ceremony. | Clif Knight
Woody Carpenter uses a pointer to identify the symbols on the POW/MIA table while World War II POW George Mills makes a presentation at t he Purple Heart ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight
Woody Carpenter uses a pointer to identify the symbols on the POW/MIA table while World War II POW George Mills makes a presentation at t he Purple Heart ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight
Robert Turner sounds a bell in memory of Purple Heart recipients from Morgan and Cullman counties after each named was called during Saturday’s Purple Heart Ceremony. | Clif Knight
Robert Turner sounds a bell in memory of Purple Heart recipients from Morgan and Cullman counties after each named was called during Saturday’s Purple Heart Ceremony. | Clif Knight
Hartselle Mayor Don Hall call names of Purple Heart recipients during Saturday’s ceremony. | Clif Knight
Hartselle Mayor Don Hall call names of Purple Heart recipients during Saturday’s ceremony. | Clif Knight
Murrell and Debbie Frazier are presented a Purple Heart flag by Jill Larsen during the Purple Hear ceremony.  Their son, Jantzen Frazier, a decorated soldier, died in 2013 in a wreck while responding to a fire call in a fire truck. | Clif Knight
Murrell and Debbie Frazier are presented a Purple Heart flag by Jill Larsen during the Purple Hear ceremony. Their son, Jantzen Frazier, a decorated soldier, died in 2013 in a wreck while responding to a fire call in a fire truck. | Clif Knight
SFC Donna Johnson sings “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the Purple Heart Ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight
SFC Donna Johnson sings “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the Purple Heart Ceremony Saturday. | Clif Knight
Doris Stewart, left, and daughter, Shelia Miller, attend the Purple Heart Memorial in memory of their brother and uncle, Leonard Vernon, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. | Clif Knight
Doris Stewart, left, and niece, Shelia Miller, attended the Purple Heart Memorial in memory of their brother and father, Leonard Vernon, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II. | Clif Knight

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