Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / May 19, 2000

On Friday, May 26, at 7:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in LaPlace, the committeeof Get High on Life will host its second annual Memorial Day prayer breakfast.

Last year, more than 140 people attended and paid tribute to the men and women who served their country in the different wars and especially remembered those who gave their lives to defend the freedoms we enjoy.

The public is invited and a special appeal is made to all VFW and American Legion members and their families to make plans to attend.

If you are interested, please call Get High on Life at 652-8477.

I am old enough to remember World War II. I also had the privilege to serve,but never saw action, during the Korean War. I also remember all too well,the almost-forgotten Vietnam War and saw Americans come together during the Persian Gulf War.

After World War II, the St. John the Baptist School Board published a booktitled, “St. John Heroes.” The dedication read, and I quote: “In gratefulrememberance to those valiant sons of the Parish of St. John the Baptistwho gave their lives to the cause of freedom.”The preface read: “To show our love, esteem and gratitude to those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom is impossible. We hope, however, bythis book we may preserve the memory of their heroic sacrifice in the minds of all who may read these pages. Their memory will always live in our hearts,their unselfish devotion to home and country will always serve as an example and inspiration to all.”Thirty-one young men from St. John the Baptist Parish were killed during thewar. They paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we now enjoy.Also recorded in this book are awards received by the St. John the BaptistParish men while serving in World War II. The Legion of Honor was awarded totwo St. John veterans. Four young men received the Silver Star (second onlyto the Medal of Honor). Seventeen young men were awarded the Bronze Star.Twenty-seven received the Purple Heart. (This award is given when someoneis wounded in battle.) The Presidential Unit Citation was given to 18 of ouryoung men.

Allow me to list, in alphabetical order, the 31 young men who bravely fought and died for each of us. These men should never be forgotten.Walter Bergeron of Garyville, Leo Boutte of Garyville, Peter Caravella of LaPlace, Alfred Chapoton Jr. of Garyville, Larry Englade of Lions, Lionel Hymelof LaPlace, Sidney Johnston Jr. of Garyville, Aristide Keller of Reserve, AllenKlibert of Garyville, Henry LaBranche of Montz, Arthur Lasseigne of Reserve, Larry Lasseigne of Reserve, Louis Lorio Jr. of Edgard, Marcel Madere ofLaPlace, Robert Michel Jr. of Lions, Raymond Millet of Lions, C.F. Montegut IIIof LaPlace, Nolan Montz of Lions, Roy Robert of Reserve, Vince Palermo of Garyville, Edward Remondet of Reserve, Marion Simon of Reserve, Joseph Sutton of Reserve, Roger Tassin of Wallace, Gillespie Templain Jr. ofReserve, Eldon Theard of Reserve, Robert Vicknair of Reserve and Samuel Villemont of Reserve.

Of these 31 men, six were in the Navy, three in the Marines, 16 in the Army, five in the Air Force and one was in the Coast Guard.

Let’s not forget the reason for Memorial Day. Yes, it’s a celebration, butshould we celebrate, more than remember, the real heroes who are responsible for our freedom? Next Friday, let’s show our gratitude by gathering together and paying respect and honor the men and women who served our country unselfishly.

May God continue to bless America!

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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