Harrodsburg Reunion 1
mt Mmt ale r, r-:v- r-:v- r-:v- r-:v- spaper7Mfcrotexf NOV J 5 1984 urn ki A VOL 119, NO. 124 World War II veterans reunited in ceremony in their honor By JO WITT Staff Writer HARRODSBURG - Ralph Stine balanced a plate of cake on his knee and took a sip of punch. Stine. one of 31 World War II veterans who received a Bronze Star during a special Veterans Day ceremony here Sunday, was seated in a big room at the Kentucky National Guard Armory, enjoying a reception reception held partly in his honor. Although the presentation of the awards to men who served in the Philippines during the early days of the war was a solemn and at times tearful occasion, the reception reception which followed it had an air of festivity. The 63-year-old 63-year-old 63-year-old 63-year-old 63-year-old Stine, a Burgin resident, had been reunited at the ceremony with a comrade he hadn't seen since the war. The two " DANVILLE. KENTUCKY men didn't recognize each other at first. "1 sat down next to him and said, "Durn, I know you from somewhere.'" Stine recalled with a chuckle. Disabled in a work-related work-related work-related accident accident about 10 years ago. Stine has been confined to his home recently because of other health problems. His wife. Gladys, said Sunday's event was the first time he had been out of the house since August. But Stine is proud of the strength and willpower he was able to muster during the three years he was held prisoner by the Japanese "1 never gave up. Every time six months would roll around, I'd say. Well, it can't be more than another six months. "I'd get sweet potato vines and Cyriftti 19M Th Advocate Meietgi, AH Right! Hwfwd MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1984 cut 'em up and eat 'em over my rice, because I knew they were . good for me. Boy. I did everything to stay alive." In a 45-minute 45-minute 45-minute ceremony in the armory gymnasium, 21 men received a Bronze Star and an embrace embrace from Lt. Gen. Arthur E Brown .Jr., director of the Army Staff at the Pentagon. Ten other people wives, brothers, sisters and daughters of deceased veterans accepted posthumous awards for their loved ones. Speaking in front of a giant American flag that hung from ceiling to floor. Brown told a standing-room-only standing-room-only standing-room-only standing-room-only standing-room-only crowd of about 500 people that the awards were "but a small token of appreciation appreciation from a grateful nation nation " Brown recounted the service of the Bronze Star recipients, who were members of a Harrodsburg-based Harrodsburg-based Harrodsburg-based Kentucky National Guard company that became part of the 192nd Light Tank Battalion that fought against the Japanese in "those dark days of early World War II." After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Harbor, the "Philippine defenders," as they have come to be known, waged a losing battle with the Imperial Imperial Japanese army which was invading the islands. The American army surrendered at Bataan and Corrigedor in the spring spring of 1942, and many of the Har-rodsburg Har-rodsburg Har-rodsburg soldiers were taken prisoner. In captivity, they endured endured some of the worst atrocities of the war, including the infamous Bataan Death March and Japanese prison camps. 12 PAGES Despite the defeat, the Philip pine defenders are often credited with holding off the Japanese long enough to give the United States a chance to mobilize for war. "Our country has seen patriotism rise and fall and rise again," Brown said. He called 1984 "a great year for our nation, for patriotism, and for the healing of the bitterness that has hurt so many for so long." The audience broke into applause applause when Brown mentioned one sign of healing: the dedication in Washington, D C. of the starts' "Three Fighting Men" overlooking overlooking the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Kentucky Adjutant General Billy Billy G. Wellman spoke briefly at the ceremony, and Harrodsburg resident resident Connie Turner sang the na Nicaragua 9s armed W'WersUCtaPtlflr 2 Library tional anthem. Most of the veterans remained dry-eyed dry-eyed dry-eyed until a 21-gun 21-gun 21-gun salute and the playing of taps signalled the end of the ceremony. Some of the men wearing newly-received newly-received newly-received medals on their left breast pocket removed eyeglasses to wipe away tears. Others sat with heads bow ed or stared straight ahead with a faraway expression. "1 couldn't help but think about the people who didn't make il back," said Danville residenl Cecil Sims, one of the medal recipients. recipients. "It makes you wonder who'll be next." Edwin Rue, a retired Lexington businessman who was among the veterans honored, remembered one particular soldier who didn't (Continued on Page 12.