Pause to honor those who gave it all

I've talked to several people over the past month or so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some had been in lockdown, others had 'essential' jobs but schedules got moved around. Most all agreed that the pandemic and the state and federal guidelines have gotten us all thrown out of whack in terms of the calendar and routines we had in place.

With many churches cancelling services, Sunday didn't seem like Sunday. Those who scheduled to go out to dinner a few nights a week were left at home trying to figure out what to eat. The school calendar got disrupted and there were always dates in that calendar that directed us. I had one person tell me he almost missed work on a Monday because Sunday wan't the same. Routines are hard to break.

This change almost let me lose sight of the fact that Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day. I know it's always been the last Monday in May but with schools closed and partial openings of many governmental operations it just about slipped up on me.

To me, Memorial Day is a very special day. I don't like to call it a holiday and I don't like to call it a celebration, because it's really neither.

It's a day set aside for us to honor the many men and women who have fought for and died to give us the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic people looked forward to Memorial Day because a lot of people didn't have to go to work. They could spend the day cooking out, going to the beach, going fishing or doing what they like to do.

As far back as I can remember, I've spent the morning of Memorial Day on the lawn of the Escambia County Courthouse in Brewton for the ceremony. Granted, it was part of my job to cover such events, but it's something I will likely continue to do if I ever get out of the newspaper business.

One of the most impressive parts of the ceremony is the annual reading of the 'Honor Roll' that calls out the names of all Escambia County residents who died fighting for this country. They died fighting to preserve the freedom I have to run a newspaper; they died for the freedom to allow me to go to the ballot box and vote; they died to give everyone the right to go to school; they died to give all of us the right to go to the grocery store and watch TV. They also died to give us the freedom to crank up the grill on Memorial Day and have a good time.

We all take those freedoms and rights for granted. We take it for granted that we get to vote for elected officials from school boards and city council members all the way up to the White House.

I hope you pause Monday to pay tribute to the men and women who died giving you that freedom. Below is the list of those from Escambia County who paid the ultimate sacrifice:

World War I

John Adams, John Blackman, James Boggan, Everett Brown, Clifford Cunningham, Kevie Digmon, Clifford Dunson, Joe Edwards, Abraham Emmons, Claud Franklin, Adrien Hardy, Robert Hines, Willie Holladay, Quincy Jefferson, Hillery Jernigan, Albert Johnson Jr., Joe Johnson, Oliver Johnson, Sam Johnson, William Ledkins, James Mancil, Sidney Manning*, Robert McArthur, Claud McCall, William McEntire, Charlie Miller, Dewey Morris, Carey Parker, Lewis Richardson, Billy Rushing, Thomas Salter, James Smith, Albert Stanton, Walter Steele, Kellum Walker and Ned White.

World War II

Henry Ardis, Roosevelt Ashford, Robert Atkins, Marvin Baggett, Samuel Bagwell, Edwin Bell, Marion Bell, Charlie Booth, Arthur Bowden, Charlie Brown, John Brown, Nathan Brown Jr., Joseph Camp, Ted Carter, Oliver Cassady, Howard Chavers, Homer Childress, John Clark, Rozell Cobb, Charles Cooper, William Crawford Jr., Harold Daw, Rufus Evans Jr., Tom Farrish, Hillary Findley, Harvie Foster, Bruce Fuqua, Archie Glass, Luther Golden, Charlie Grantham, Louis Green Jr., Travis Hagood Jr., Daniel Hall, Eubie Hall, Lawrence Hall, B.F. Herrington Jr., Clarence Holman Jr., James Holmes, Ira Holt, Jess Huggins, Charles Hutto, Elbert Jenks, Robert Jernigan, Gaston King, Leon Kizer, Huedeen Wilson Lester, George Lundy, Soloman Marshall, Clyde Mathis, Marvin McCawley, Earnest McDonald, Almas McKinley, Harry Merriwether, Emmett Mixon Jr., Wesley Monk, Robert Montgomery, Eugene Nall, J.C. Odom, Sim Ogletree, Comer Owens, William Phillips, Alfred Pickens, James Rodgers, Robert Rowell, Earl Simmons, Albert Sims, Mason Singleton, Linwood Stanton, James Still, Henry Stokes, Malcolm Stone, William Strength, Fellis Taylor, Calvin Thomas, Chester Thomas, Austin Thompson, Alton Travis, Kenneth Turner, Theodore Walton, Arnold Waters, Hollis Wearren, Virgil Weaver, Woodrow Weaver, Dewey White, Maurice White, Thomas White, William White, Iva Wiggins, Alfred Williamson and Charles Wilson.


Ples Booth, Vivian Bryant, James Carter, Joseph Chancery, Willie Daw, Fred Fuqua, Aubrey Godwin, Paul Goodson, Robert Hart, Ruel Howell, Olan Kirkland, Edward Rigdon, Barney Tolbert, Leonard Watson and Carlos Weaver.


Jessie Barlow, Yearl Barlow, Benjamin Barrow, Richard Benjamin, Loye Bradley, Jack Clemmons, William Ellis, Allen Gandy, Charles Gipson, James Gohagin, Larry Gonzalez, Joseph Hammac, David Haveard, Habert Johnson, James Kelly, James Kendrick, Wallace Little, Dalton Lowery, James Madden, Allen Merrit, Johnson Milligan, Kenneth Newton, Edward Nisewonger, William Wayne Seay* Obie Simmons, Donald Smith, J.C. Summerlin, Elmer Taylor, Jimmy Thomas, Larry Thomas and John Winter.

War or Terror

Tamara Thurman, Philip Travis and Christopher Winchester.

*Denotes Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.