Veteran’s day will be tomorrow, and I often wonder if our children and younger generations truly understand the importance of honoring our fighting men and women. Most of our local veterans are quiet professionals, who go about their daily lives just like the rest of us. They ask for no praise, accolades, or accommodations, and they do not view themselves as heroes.

War memorial overlooking the bay in Charleston, South Carolina. The widow holds the flag in her left arm and the assault rifle, with her fallen husband’s helmet on the right.

The truth is, Todd County is home to many distinguished warriors, who bravely answered the call of duty in their country’s darkest hours. They signed a blank check for this country, up to and including their life. They fought for us abroad, so that we wouldn’t suffer the oppression and tyranny they saw downrange. They fought for their brothers and died for their country, and for those that returned home, they just wanted to get back to their normal lives. They bore the weight of democracy, no matter the cost, and made sure our country stayed free. For those that didn’t come home, we are eternally grateful:

Cpl. Dennis M. Groves, kia South Vietnam , March 16th, 1969

Jimmy Weathers battle of the bulge WWII ( date unknown to author)

(If you know of others killed in action please list them in the comments section)

Below are some selected stories of bravery by Todd County veterans:

Essie Cardwell was our most decorated veteran of World War II. He was originally from Butler County, but was a life long resident of Allegre. During the war, he landed a glider with the 82nd airborne division, on D -day, and saw action in Africa, Italy, and Eastern Europe. He fought through the Battle of the Bulge and survived with two Purple Heart Medals, the European African Middle Eastern Medal and six oak leaf clusters, to become Todd County’s most decorated veteran.

Curt Potter dropped by parachute into Normandy, during the D-day invasion. Mr. Curt was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. Like many members of Operation Market Garden, Potter was eventually captured and held as a German POW in Holland. After the war, Mr. Potter became a logger, who lived out his days in peace in Northern Todd County. He received two bronze stars in combat. ( band of brothers and saving private ryan follow the 101st, loosely, through these operations)

Bunt Harris served with the 21st Army, 90th infantry division during World War II. When he went downrange, he was transferred to 3rd Army, under the Command of George S. Patton. Patton’s boys experienced some of the bloodiest fighting of the war and below is an excerpt from Mr. Harris’ experience:

(Courtesy: family history of Todd county online )

These are only a few stories of the veterans here. There are many more. Our more recent veterans have jumped into combat, on oxygen, during the darkness of night; into countries we didn’t even know existed. They have made sniper shots from distances and places still classified, and completed forward reconnaissance in places where Americans never officially were. They have dove to classified depths, in murky waters, of the darkest oceans on Earth, and spent years away from their family, at war, and in training. They are all Americans, they are all heroes, and they are all from Todd County.

This Veteran’s day, thank a real hero; they walk amongst us daily, and a little bit of gratitude is in order from us all.

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