Georgia Veterans Memorial State Park honors past and present veterans

Veterans honored in Cordele

CORDELE, Ga. (WALB) - People of all ages gathered at the Georgia Veteran’s State Park to honor all veterans, past and present.

One family traveled over two hours to lay their dad’s brick beside other veterans who served the country he loved.

Veterans and their families gathered to recognize all those who have fought for America.
Veterans and their families gathered to recognize all those who have fought for America. (Source: WALB)

Sylvia Williamson and her sister Lana Thomas talked about their father’s service in World War ll.

“My father John L. Tyre was born in Laurens County Georgia, and he died there in 2002 at the age of 81," Williamson said.

"My daddy was a veteran, he was a member of ‘Merrill’s Marauders,’ a hard fighting jungle fighter, who volunteered in World War ll,” Thomas said.

Sylvia Williamson talks about her father's experiences in World War ll.
Sylvia Williamson talks about her father's experiences in World War ll. (Source: WALB)
Lana Thomas reflects on her father's experiences in World War ll "Merrill's Marauders."
Lana Thomas reflects on her father's experiences in World War ll "Merrill's Marauders." (Source: WALB)

Her father was one of the more than 3,000 soldiers to call himself a “Merrill’s Marauder.” Something Williamson said her father was proud of but private about.

“He never spoke much about his war experience but we have done a lot of reading about it,” Williamson said.

Retired veteran Elton Shauf helped organize the ceremony and shared his knowledge for the reasoning a monument like this one was needed.

“When I moved here 25 years ago there was no monument in the park honoring veterans. So a group of us, (and) Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce President Monica Simmons... decided we needed to do something about that,” Shauf said.

Retired Veteran Elton Shauf organized the Bricklaying Ceremony and talks about its importance.
Retired Veteran Elton Shauf organized the Bricklaying Ceremony and talks about its importance. (Source: WALB)

Veterans who serve, present or past, had the chance to leave their name on the special monument beside other veterans.

“We came upon the ceremony and thought, ‘oh that’s a nice honor,’ so we decided we wanted to do that for our dad,” Williamson said.

The next veterans tribute will be held on November 7, 2020.

If you want to know how you can participate in next year’s ceremony and purchase a brick for your loved on, reach out to Michael A. Murdock at (770) 296-2979.

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