Veterans saluted at VFW Post 4411

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tim Cormany, chaplain of VFW Post 4411, told those gathered in the site on Saturday afternoon that he and all veterans have a time dedicated to them.

Sharon Patterson pins Duane F. Ashland, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

“Fellow veterans, tomorrow is your day … our day. It is the day that the citizens of the United States of America recognize the sacrifices that we have made to keep our country free. To keep our country the best place in this world to live, to work, to raise a family, and to worship as we choose to worship.

“And that has only happened because of us, because of you, the veterans of the United States armed forces.”

Cormany, an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, said veterans continue to serve: “We serve in our communities. We serve in our churches … if called upon to serve again, we will be there. Maybe not standing as straight and tall as we used to. Maybe not as strong or having as much stamina as we used to have, but we will be there.”

The chaplain then told how a year ago he was in his chaplain’s uniform at a post office talking with another veteran and they were overheard by a woman behind them. Rachel Clement introduced herself and said that her husband, Ed, a Korean War veteran, was in the hospital. She asked Cormany if he would visit, and he did several times.

“From hospital to rehab, to hospital, to terminal care, I was honored to visit Ed,” said the chaplain.

After visiting family, Cormany learned that Clement — an Private First Class in the Army had died. He also found out that military honors were accorded, and informed the fellow post member. They arranged for a U.S. flag to be flown over the nation’s Capitol, and then it was sealed in a triangular-shaped wooden box with the plaque bearing his name and service time.

Accompanied by one of her children, Jeff L. Brown (himself a Marine,) Rachel received the flag with grateful tears and words of thanks to Cormany and the post.

“He visited five times,” she told everyone about the chaplain. “Unbelievable! What a wonderful person.”


At the start of the Veterans Day program, Senior Vice Commander Bill Hunnicutt told those who gathered that it was “A day to honor all Americans who have worn our nation’s uniforms.”

He noted that the Marine Corps’ 243rd birthday was being observed that very day, and that the post is named in the honor of one died in service: Sgt. Jayton D. Patterson.

Speaking of which, Hunnicutt addressed the Gold Star Mothers in the audience, Sharon Patterson, Susan McColley, Mary Strong and Martha Cabe. They are women whose sons or daughters who died in service to the country.

“You sacrificed so much. We are honored by your presence,” said Hunnicutt, who was standing in for Post Commander Stephanie Coward.

He also recognized Elben Thomas “Tom” Myers, 93, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“You have had an awesome, awesome career — part of America’s ‘Greatest Generation,’” Hunnicutt told Myers.

Auxiliary President Heidi Napier also saluted the veterans: “Without them there would be no land of the free.”

She and fellow auxiliary member were in turn thanked for their many unsung contributions to the post.

Dr. James Pape of Smithfield performed the songs that identify different branches of military service, and later played “Taps” whilst old flags were ceremoniously burned outside the post following the program indoors. Area Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts participated by posting colors and following the etiquette for the flag-burning.

The aforementioned Gold Star Mothers called the Vietnam veterans of the post to the front, and they were presented pins in recognition of their time overseas. Each told which branch they served and when, and some even shared anecdotes of their time in the Navy or Army.

Post 4411 Vietnam veterans

Air Force: John M. Bradford Jr., Timothy P. Cormany, James C. Lowe, Michael D. Welsh

Army: Cecil A. Ashby, Basil L. “Buzz” Ballard, Harry D. Boone, Howard K. Edsall Jr., David E. Hall, Thomas L. Harmon, David N. Hubbert, Charles W. Jeffries, Paul Harvey McCrary, Gary M. Prevatte, James S. Roberts III, Ronald L. Saunders, James M. Siebert, John T. Simonton, John T. Spivey, Raymond J. Swartz Jr.

Marines: John P. Hinkle and David W. Moody

Navy: Duane F. Ashland, Linwood S. Baker, Howard D. Barnes, James J. Dimmer Jr., Larry E. Dunn, Wesley R. Fawcett, Carl R. Hunsicker, Charles M. Keith, Edward A. Mattucci and Walter A. Miller.