Honoring Harlan County and the nation’s veterans, the Harlan Honor Guard presented their eighth annual Veterans Day program on Monday.
The keynote speaker for the event was the Rev. David Gross, pastor of the Evarts and Wallins United Methodist churches and a Vietnam veteran.
“Veterans Day is about sacrifice, duty, honor and service,” said Gross. “Since 1776, men and women have sacrificed to keep our nation free. Even now, we’re still making sacrifices in a new war called terrorism and locally called drugs. As in war, people need to pull together in order to see great things happen and battles won.”
Gross quoted scripture from the Bible in John Chapter 15, which says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“That is what a soldier does,” said Gross. “They lay their lives down in the name of freedom and today we should all remember this.”
Noted in his address was that a Harlan County soldier, the late lst Lt. Carl Henry Dodd of the U.S. Army, born in Cotes and raised in Kenvir, had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“Let’s do something to recognize this soldier,” said Gross. ”
During the Battle of Masan on Aug. 7, 1950, during the Korean War, Dodd earned the U.S. Military’s third highest decoration, the Silver Star. When his platoon was overrun near Chindong-ni, he took over for the missing platoon leader and led the 12 remaining soldiers in re-establishing their position.
A North Korean attack from all sides followed. Dodd provided covering fire while the rest of the platoon pulled back, then returned to rescue two men who had been unable to withdraw due to a heavy fire.
“Beginning on Jan. 30, 1951, Dodd led his platoon against Hill 256, a strongly defended position near Subuk, Korea, as part of Operation Thunderbolt. Leading from the front, despite intense hostile fire, he single-handily destroyed a machine gun nest and a mortar position while organizing and encouraging his men.
The next morning he and his platoon continued their advance and captured the hill. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for these actions. Dodd retired after a 21-year career. He died in 1996. I’ll be the first one to say I’ll donate $100 for a plaque or something to give honor to this Harlan County soldier who made us all proud.”
The program concluded with a wreath being placed on the Doughboy in front of the Harlan County Courthouse by Loyall American Legion ladies auxiliary member Kathryn Reynolds.
The Harlan Honor Guard conducted a 21-gun salute in honor of all veterans. Commander Fred Hall said it is the guard “honor” to present this program each year.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org