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Effingham community salutes local veterans


November 14, 2018
EFFINGHAM — It was a remarkable turnout Nov. 11 as 140 people gathered at the Lord's Hill Meeting House (LHMH) in Effingham in honor of Veterans Day. The powerful and emotional ceremony was attended by veterans age 23 to 97, their families, friends and the public.

Effingham Connect, a newly formed non-profit group, made the restoration of the Effingham Honor Roll their 2018 priority project this year. Their board and the LHMH membership reached an agreement this summer to allow Effingham Connect to rebuild, update and provide perpetual care for the Honor Roll located on the LHMH property, a nationally registered historic site.

As work commenced to rebuild the Honor Roll structure, members began their quest to find all the 41 veterans listed on the Roll or their surviving family members. As the months went on they also identified 17 other veterans to be added to the Roll representing World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and Global War on Terrorism. The Roll lists the names of all servicemen and women that lived in Effingham when they enlisted during these conflict periods. A total of 105 invitations were mailed to veterans and their families, inviting them to the Nov. 11 event.

The ceremony included Rodney A. White, Sr. VFW Post 8270 Commander Wayne Marshall leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Leah Morrow of Effingham offering her stunning voice for her solo performance of the National Anthem and leading the group in other patriotic songs, Gary Torresson of Bugles Across America performing Taps, Susan Simpson and Linda White of the VFW Post 8270 Ladies Auxiliary laying a wreath, Marine Corporal David Dube giving the keynote speech, sixth-generation Effingham resident Eric Potter offering the closing prayer, and Erik Jones of Effingham ringing the meeting house bell 100 times in honor of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Perhaps the most moving segment of the ceremony was the reading of names. Four speakers – Ruth O'Neal of Effingham whose cousin Charles Sanborn was killed in the line of duty in World War II; Rachel Ward of Ossipee, widow of Korean War veteran Ralph Ward; Chris Seamans, grandson of WWII veteran William Kirker and son of Vietnam veteran David Seamans; and Effingham Police Sargent and Marine Reserve Corporal Jamie Mullen – each read a list of veteran names now engraved on the Roll.

Attendees were asked to stand when they heard their name called or that of their family member. Once all 58 names had been read, nearly everyone in the room was standing, and there was thunderous applause.

By the end of the ceremony, it was brought to the attention of organizers that at least three more names to be added next year, likely confirming this will be an annual event. Throughout the coming year, the group will also be working to create a scrapbook featuring a section for each veteran listed on the roll. If you have information, photographs, or other memorabilia to contribute, please contact Effingham Connect at connecteffingham@roadrunner.com.

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