A 94-year-old World War II veteran living in Brownstown remembers the events of his time of service better than most of us can remember what happened a month ago.
Retired Marine Corps Cpl. Ralph Parman shared some of those memories Monday after a Veterans Day ceremony inside the Jackson County Courthouse.
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“I was a senior in high school in London, Kentucky, when all hell broke loose,” Parman said while accepting handmade cards made by Brownstown Elementary School fifth-graders.
“They told us it would never be the same,” he said. “Little did I realize that just over a year later, I would be a Marine recruit at Parris Island, South Carolina. The war lasted 39 months, and I stayed in 39 months.”
Parman said when he entered basic training, he had the three Rs.
“Reading, writing and arithmetic, and I got two more Rs out of the Marine Corps — respect and responsibility,” he said. “It was the greatest thing in the world.”
Although he spent most of his service stateside, late in the war, Parman was sent to Midway Island, the site of a decisive naval battle in June 1942.
“That thing was fortified from one end to the other and no civilians,” said Parman, who married and came to Brownstown after the war.
Pastor Steve Gommel, the featured speaker, said Veterans Day is not just for those who served during war, such as Parman, but any person who has ever served in the military.
“Those men and women who served are my heroes,” he said. “They all sacrificed their time. They put their love of America above their own loves, their own wants and some even sacrificed their health to serve the United States of America. By doing that, they served you and me. “They were willing to go into places of danger and fight for freedom, and I’m very thankful for each one of them for their sacrifice.”
The fifth-graders once again made the trek to the courthouse for the Veterans Day service. It’s a tradition that has been going on for a number of years and goes well with their studies of U.S. history.
Veteran Max Middendorf, who organized the service with fellow veteran Glen Killey, said it’s always good to see the students show up.
Fifth-grader Xavier Ketcham said he felt the service was pretty good.
The 11-year-old said he has at least two veterans in his family.
“Col. John Ketcham and my uncle,” he said.
The card he gave to a veteran read “Thank you for your service.”
“And that veterans are my favorite kind of people,” Ketcham said.
Classmate Parker Fish, whose cousin, Braydon Fish, is presently serving in the military, said he felt the service was a good thing to attend.
Tucker Gourley said the only family member he knows is a veteran was his great-grandfather, who has passed away, but he has learned a lot this year about veterans.
His card, given to Parman, said, “If you did not serve, we wouldn’t be free.” It also featured a picture of the U.S. Army insignia.
The honor guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 and American Legion Post 89 in Seymour fired a 21-gun salute, and Parman’s son, Dick Parman, closed the ceremony with “Taps” on the trumpet.