Blue Star Mothers honor war heroes
Markers on Highway 31, north of Hartselle, at the three Flint Creek bridges were rededicated in memory of three war heroes Sat., Mar. 24 at a 1 p.m. ceremony, which was conducted by Blue Star Mothers of Morgan County.
The markers list in large letters the names of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Jonathan L. Smith of Eva, U.S. Army Corporal Jon-Erik Loney of Danville and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Joshua Rath of Decatur. Smith and Loney were killed in action in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and Rath was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
The State Legislature adopted a resolution dedicating the three bridges in memory of the three servicemen in 2009.
A ceremonial wreath was placed at the first bridge heading north nearest Hartselle by Gold Star Mothers Donna Smith, Violet Kaylor and Darlene Rath. Unveiling of the highway sign was done by Gold Star Fathers Gary Smith, Bo Kaylor and Leroy Rath.
About 75 veterans, public officials and family members and friends of the three servicemen observed the ceremony. A moment of silence was observed following the sign unveiling. Afterwards. Sally Marsh and Bob Porter sang “Amazing Grace.” Bob Stricklin played taps and Terri Norwood gave the benediction.
The ceremony opened with the posting of colors by Austin High JROTC cadets Tim Murrow, Tiffany Trott, Karina Ramerez and Mario Santos, commanded by Lt Col. James L. Walker.
Sally Marsh and Bob Porter sang the National Anthem, Deana Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and Terri Norwood gave the invocation.
Emcee Theresa Groves said during her remarks, “This is a sacred place, a reminder of the supreme sacrifice these young men made for their country.
“Having their names place on the signs so that they can be seen by all who pass by is a perfect way to honor them,” said Gold Star Mother Darlene Rath.