Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, Nashville, 1944

Nashville Tennessean, 5/31/44

Nashvillians Pay Tribute To War Dead In Ceremonies

Marine Pvt. Henry Thornton Orr, 20-year old veteran of the Marshall Islands assault, yesterday laid a wreath of flowers at the foot of the victory statue in War Memorial Court in honor of the marines who have fallen in this and past wars., Orr was among a number of representatives of national and local patriotic organizations who participated in Nashville’s annual Memorial Day services. Private Orr was wearing a borrowed dress uniform with staff sergeant chevrons.

[In the picture he is using crutches; he has one leg, and looks rather pensive.]

Story follows

Loyalty to Living Fighters Over World Pledged In Annual Memorial Day Program, Prayers Here

Hundreds of Nashvillians thronged to the War Memorial Building yesterday to pay tribute to America’s dead and to rededicate a pledge of loyalty to the living who are fighting in far-flung corners of the world today that such meetings may still be held.
Amid intermittent thundershowers, men, women and children made their annual pilgrimage to the memorial statues in War Memorial Court and prayers were offered at noon for the soldiers, sailors and marines who are now engaged in the greatest conflict in the history of the world.

Worshippers were reminded by Will R. Manier, Jr., presiding layman at the D-Day prayer service, that casualties will be great on invasion day and that “sorrow may come to our neighbors or even our own home.”

“Memory of the dead challenges those of us who would remember to [sic] noble resolutions,” approximately 500 500 civilians, service men and women were told at the American Legion’s afternoon  Memorial Day observation by Dr. John L. Hill, Baptist Sunday School Board editor, who added: “it is a good tome too resolve by own loyalty to deserved these sacrifices.”

Following through the general theme of professing gratitude to the living as well as the dead, Dr. John L. Ferguson, Belmont Methodist Church pastor, offered a prayer to the living: “O God, give to each one courage,” he said, “and help us to be truly grateful to those who have died that we may enjoy the great practices of freedom.”

Families of members of the armed forces stood silent and with heads bowed for one minute of united prayer.

At the close of the ceremony, representatives of a number of patriotic organizations marched in recessional from the auditorium to the outer court where wreaths were place ceremoniously at the foot of the memorial statue While the Nashville Army Air Center Band, directed by Chief W. O. Arthur Hoffman, played in the background, representatives from the following groups stepped to lay wreaths upon the statue:
American Red Cross, YMCA, YMHA, U. S Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, United Spanish 

American War Veterans and the Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the auxiliary, Salvation Army, Knights of Columbus, U. S. Navy Mothers, Disabled American Veterans and the Auxiliary, War Mothers, United Daughters of the Confederacy, War Dads, Women Marines, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary,, and American Legion Post 5.

Marine Places Wreath

Marine Pvt. Henry Thornton Orr, who lost his right leg in the battle for the Marshall Islands, laid a wreath of flowers at the food to the memorial statue on behalf of the U. S. Marine Corps. The 20-year old veteran of some of the fiercest fighting in this war hobbled forward on his crutches to place the flowers.

The Purple Heart and his campaign ribbons adorned the borrowed dress uniform hew wore. His mother, Mrs. J. M. Orr 1000 Linden Place accompanied him to the ceremony. Her eyes were misty as her young son stood on his one leg and leaned on his crutches to place the wreath at the shrine.

Orr lost his leg when a Jap sniper’s bullet exploded three hand grenades he carries in a pouch of his dungarees. He enlisted in the marine corps here in December, 1942, and went overseas in May, 1943.

Guard Fires Bullets

Marking the conclusion of the 76th annual memorial observation, Company A, 2nd Infantry, of the Tennessee State Guard, fired three rifle salutes from the foot of the memorial statue, and while Rabbi Bernard J. Starkoff pronounced the benediction six bombers from Smyrna Army Air Field flew over, dropping flowers into the court.
Immediately before the bombers appeared over the court, a wreath in memory of the 21 soldiers drowned on maneuvers in the Cumberland River last March was dropped into the river between the Woodland Street and Sparkman Street bridges.

War Production Goes On

Meanwhile, in Nashville, as well as other cities throughout the nation, war production centers-air craft factories and other plants producing tools and equipment for the nation’s fighting forces-were running at virtually full tilt and its workers reaffirming their determination to win one more war.

The spirit of the occasion yesterday seems to be summed up in words of Dr. Hill, who said:

“We must dedicate our thoughts today to the memory of those dead…the memory of them must renew our joys-joys of friendship, fellowship, and joys of sharing.”

No comments: