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Legion baseball players decorate flag memorial

BONNE TERRE – Before heading to their scheduled game in Ste. Genevieve on Thursday, members of the Jackson-Thomure Post 83 Senior American Legion baseball team made one important stop.

To commemorate Flag Day, players helped decorate the memorial located at the junction of Highway 47 and Vo-Tec Road in Bonne Terre with flags representing each branch of the military.

The team also planted flags for veterans at a nearby cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. Those acts are part of an ongoing effort to not only express gratitude but also generate community awareness.

“I’m a teacher, and I thought it was important to understand the history involved in our area,” Post 83 manager Larry Kekec said. “Our guys pass by these memorials and on their uniforms, it says ‘Post 83,’ and they don’t realize what it’s all about and the sacrifices that our soldiers made so they can play a great American game like baseball.

“My mission was to give some understanding and appreciation for this national pastime that we get to play and take for granted.”

Post 83 is nearing 100 full years in existence after being established in 1919, and was renamed for two local soldiers who became overseas casualties.

Marine Cpl. Norman R. Jackson died at age 19 on Flanders Fields during World War I along the France-Belgium border. He was the first Bonne Terre resident killed in action.

Marine Cpl. Harold C. Thomure died in captivity as a POW during World War II after being captured by Japanese forces in May 1942.

The baseball team is looking to plan another event next month to coincide with district home contests on back-to-back evenings of July 2-3.

“We’re talking about having a 4th of July barbecue and work day for the American Legion with our boys going to the memorial and cleaning it up,” Kekec said. “We would like to raise some money for them and us while bringing some more recognition to the post.”

“We’re trying to help them with their membership,” he added. “I would like to see us do more with Veterans Park and other memorials around St. Francois County.”

Jackson-Thomure Post 83 (1-1) played less than 20 minutes against Ste. Genevieve Post 150 on Thursday before heavy rain forced action to be called in the second inning.

The Bonne Terre squad had just taken a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Karson Kekec that drove in leadoff man Malcolm Hawkins.

Members of the Jackson-Thomure Post 83 American Legion Senior baseball team stand behind Post Commander Jerry Rokan after decorating a veterans memorial with flags on Thursday in Bonne Terre.

Members of the Jackson-Thomure Post 83 American Legion Senior baseball team stand behind Post Commander Jerry Rokan after decorating a veterans memorial with flags on Thursday in Bonne Terre.

Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at mking@dailyjournalonine.com

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