Veteran’s Day has always meant a lot, but this year an event in the recent past has brought out the meaning of the day.
On a sunny, clear day, the small town of Dalton paid tribute to a fallen Korean War era veteran, Sgt. Vernon Judd. Sgt. Judd had been a POW of that conflict and after 60+ years his remains were returned to the United States. He was buried in the National Cemetery in Rittman and his funeral procession which began in Brewster went through Dalton.
Large flags were flown at each end of town, at the fire station and at the elementary school. Along the procession route were signs saying “Welcome Home Sgt. Judd,” “Thank You for Your Service” and “We Thank You.” People, young and old, lined the sidewalks and tree lines wearing red, white and blue and holding American flags. As the procession passed them they stood with respect with their hands over their hearts or saluting. It was especially heartwarming to see the pupils standing in the tree lines in a line stretching from East Wayne Fire Station up to and past the elementary school. Standing respectfully with most of them holding flags while a large flag flew from a lift in the school yard behind them.
Did you notice the church bells ringing as the procession passed the churches? As the motorcycles, cars and black hearse came up Main Street the Presbyterian minister said she felt for the first time in her life that it was the thing to do, so she went inside and started ringing the bells. What a beautiful tribute!!!
Our small town made me proud to be a resident. It was a sad but enlightening day. Living in such a caring community is wonderful.
Vickie Menges, Dalton