Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge honors its fallen veterans with flags, service

Breckenridge honors its fallen veterans with flags, service
May 27
15:18 2024
“As long as two comrades survive, the VFW will render tribute to our heroic dead” — engraving on the Stephens County Veterans Memorial

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The Breckenridge community honored its fallen military veterans with U.S. flags throughout the city and the annual Memorial Day Service, hosted by VFW Post 7767, at the Stephens County Veterans Memorial in downtown.

U.S. Navy veteran Burrell McKelvain, left, looks at the names on the Stephens County Veterans Memorial following Monday morning’s Memorial Day Service, hosted by VFW Post 7767. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The service began at 10 a.m. this morning, Monday, May 27, on the southwestern corner of the courthouse lawn with a call to order by Russell Blue with the VFW Auxiliary. Teagan Hay led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Todd Weger lowered the flag to half staff.

Bear Grissom read aloud the names of the 11 Stephens County veterans who died in 2023 and whose names were inscribed on the monument in front of the courthouse.

The following names have been added to the memorial this year:

  • Steve R. Atchison
  • Walter Cleavenger, Sr.
  • Charles Evers
  • Lawson W. Jacobs
  • Johnny T. Johnson
  • Charles Loggains
  • Royce Morton
  • Johnnie R. Oates
  • Troy Riddle
  • Timothy J. Russell
  • O K Wills, Jr.

The service also included a prayer and message by Trey McDuff and a wreath that was on display. A recording of Taps was played to end the ceremony.

The Stephens County Veterans Memorial features four stone panels with the names of local veterans who have died, engraved in order of the year they died, starting with World War I veterans who died in 1918. A fifth stone panel was installed five years ago for names to be added in the future.

Click here to see more photos from the Memorial Day Service in the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.


U.S. Army veteran Arthur Estrada and his wife, Linda Hirt Estrada, volunteered Saturday morning to help place flags at the graves of veterans buried in the Breckenridge Cemetery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

On Saturday, two groups of volunteers posted flags in the community. Members of the Rotary Club of Breckenridge put flags up and down Walker Street, as they do for six patriotic holidays throughout the year.

And, at the Breckenridge Cemetery, a little more than two dozen volunteers showed up to help retired U.S. Navy veteran Jim Merson and Les Strickland, the Stephens County Veterans Service Officer and a retired U.S. Marine, place U.S. flags on the graves of the approximately 900 veterans buried there.

As fog blanketed the area early Saturday morning, the volunteers, including several local Scouts, walked through the cemetery, row by row, looking at each tombstone and marker for information identifying the deceased as a veteran. There are several graves of Civil War veterans, as well as at least one veteran who fought in the Spanish-American War. There are graves of many more veterans who served in the U.S. Military from World War I to present times.

Merson and Strickland and any other volunteers will meet at the cemetery today, Monday, May 27, at 5 p.m. to pick up the flags.

Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery of the volunteers at the Breckenridge Cemetery on Saturday.

Local Scouts and their families were among the two dozen volunteers who showed up at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 25, to help place U.S. flags on the graves of military veterans buried in the Breckenridge Cemetery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Bear Grissom, center, reads the names of the Breckenridge veterans who died in 2023. Their names were engraved on the Veterans Memorial on the Stephens County Courthouse lawn. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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