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A day to reflect on freedom, pay tribute to veterans

FARMINGTON — “This is a day to reflect on the cost of our freedom and pay tribute to all veterans past and present who paid for our freedom, sometimes with their very lives,” Commander Tony Carroll of the Farmington VFW Post 5896, said at Wednesday’s Veterans Day service at the county courthouse.

Farmington VFW Post 5896 also honored retired military Chief Petty Officer Leonard “Mac” McFadden for his service during the ceremony.

McFadden served more than 20 years in the United States military. He has been a member of the VFW for 72 years and was honored with a Citation of Special Recognition.

McFadden thanked those gathered for honoring him. He served in China prior to World War II, then in the Korean War. He said he made two trips around the world and worked in just about everything. He said he could do so many things they shifted him around.

Special guest speaker Bob Wonnell, VFW department senior vice commander, said that generations have been giving of themselves to fight for this country. “They haven’t wanted anything in return and the number of people benefited can’t even be counted,” he said.

“Veterans have stepped in harms way to give others freedom and share an equal sense of pride as those who are serving today. Remind people on Veterans Day the service of those who are fighting. Remember the history and pass it on to future generations,” he concluded.

Farmington Mayor Stuart “Mit” Landrum followed and said Veterans Day is a personal day for him because his father, brother and son all served in the military.

He reminded everyone to look at the names on the memorial of those who gave their lives for the freedom we have today. He concluded by thanking those who served and who continue to serve our country.

State Representative Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, said it is nice to know that people still honor the veterans. “They are friends and loved ones and they have paid a price to give us our freedom,” he said.

He told a story he hoped many would remember. He was working in his office and a family friend and former serviceman came in. The serviceman talked to Tilley for a minute and then told Tilley he was glad that Tilley was a representative and thanked him for his service.

Tilley said the man died a short time after their conversation. At that time, Tilley realized he had not thanked the man for the service he provided this country. Tilley said he regrets that.

Finally he reminded those in attendance to thank veterans for the service they gave.

State Senator Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, was the last speaker and said it was great to see schools allow children to take part and to help honor veterans.

He encouraged those in attendance to talk to parents and grandparents and those who served in wars. 

Engler said there is nothing harder than attending a going away celebration for men and women leaving to fight overseas. “It’s tough to look at the families and try to encourage them that things will be all right,” he said.

He added that after each speech he gives to those going overseas, he shakes their hands and thanks them for their service. “Nothing is tougher than getting a picture of a fallen soldier. Some who fought have come back wounded and have mental anguish. Take time to remember and thank friends, relatives or those you don’t know who fought,” he said.

“This is the best crowd we have seen lately. The weather was a big part of the good turn out. It’s a shame with a lot of people having a day off, more haven’t come out to honor those who served,” Engler said.

Following the speakers, American Legion Post 416, Disabled American Veterans, VFW Post 5896, Farmington AmVets Post 113, American War Mothers and Daughters of the American Revolution placed wreaths at the monument in honor of those who fought.

Following the wreath ceremony, there was a rifle salute and “Taps” was played by Kayla Drye. The ceremony concluded with the benediction by Joel Meador, VFW Post 5896 Chaplain.

Maridee Lawson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 756-8927 or

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