Memorial Day Remembrance to be held at Veteran's Honor Garden
- Written by Trilla Cook
Creekwood Middle School Service Learning teachers and students are hard at work getting ready for the Memorial Day Remembrance and Special Dedication set for Saturday, May 26, at 10 a.m. Distinguished guests, families of veterans and the community are invited to the Memorial Day Remembrance for all who have served or are serving; and Special Dedication honoring Donald Foisie the 5th U.S. Calvary in the Korean War Hill 303 atrocity. Among those invited guests are the Korean Consulate General Suk-Bum-Park, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe and State Rep. Dan Huberty. Other organizations will be represented, including: Kingwood VA (color guard), Purple Heart, DAV, VFW, American Legion, Gold Star Moms, Rolling Guard, Humble ISD School Board, Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes, local and Korean media. There will be a presentation of 50 flags and Taps, plus 42 bells and the names of the men who lost their lives at Hill 303. According to Atascocita resident and decorated veteran Donald Foisie, the 1st Calvary out of Fort Hood is working on having a two-horse detachment, and honor guard 5th Calvary are to be in uniforms from the Korean War. Family members who lost loved ones in that atrocity will be present. Foisie, published poet and historian, read aloud one of his original poems to the crowd who gathered for the Veteran’s Honor Garden dedication just prior to Veteran’s Day in November 2011. He is one of the Purple Heart survivors, and has been a visible participant of the garden project. He was there in the Pusan Perimeter when 40 of his comrades were executed at Hill 303, and one was beaten to death and another was MIA. “In the North Korean attack on Hill 303, we survived in the rice paddies, as many of our troops were captured. Yet, three of us were able to come back and take part in the attack to retake the hill,” Foisie said. He further explained that, had he not been under water in the rice paddy, he might have been executed as well. Anyone who has been involved in the Veteran’s Honor Garden project at CMS knows that the garden is the direct result of the hard, physical and artistic work put forth by Bob Ligon. Ligon said he wants no special credit, as he feels that the project, once it got off the ground, became his passion as a committee of one. With a sense of great pride and dedication, he has placed engraved brick after brick inside his hand-made star design, which is the center focus of the garden. The big sign was made by Ligon in his garage. “What makes it worthwhile are the ‘thanks’ -- like finding a handwritten thank-you note from “an Aussie in the USA,” which was placed next to Veteran Honor Garden sign. Someone passing by from Australia took the time to say thank you and to remember the sacrifices that were made,” Ligon said. Special benches have been placed around the star to honor local fallen heroes such as Sgt. Brandon Bury and Lance Cpl. Luke Yepsen. Both young men were U.S. Marines and former students at Kingwood High School. Another special bench displays a quote from Frank Buckles, the last U.S. survivor of WWI: “If your country needs you, you should be right there. That is the way I felt when I was young, and that’s the way I feel today.” A new commemorative bench was recently installed in the Veteran’s Honor Garden. This bench remembers the 40 U.S. POW’s from the 5th U.S. Calvary who were executed by North Koreans in what became known as the Pusan Perimeter – Atrocity on Hill 303 – on August 17, 1950. It also honors the “Purple Heart Survivors,” Roy Day, Bill Estey, Donald Foisie, Gerald Gingery, Roy Manring, Trenton Purser, James Rudd and Fred Ryan. Foisie was instrumental in raising funds to pay for the bench inscription and for the purchase of 40 bricks, one for each of the executed POWs. CMS principal Walt Winicki and teacher Jan York, have been instrumental players leading the Service Learning Projects, which have related to all things “veteran.” They have led teachers and students through one project after another, including fundraisers for the restoration of the WWI monument in Washington, D.C., three years ago. The Honor Garden project has been a work in progress for the past two years and is expected to hold more than 650 commemorative bricks, which are still available for purchase. “Forty-six bricks are currently on order,” said York. “That’s a total of about 250 bricks sold so far.” The Memorial Day Remembrance and Special Dedication will be held at the Veteran’s Honor Garden in front of Creekwood Middle School, 3603 W. Lake Houston Parkway. The Garden is supported by the sale of commemorative bricks, and will serve as a place to honor a loved one, or to pause and give thanks to all who served and made freedom possible. For more information on the Veteran’s Honor Garden and to download an order form for bricks, visit the Creekwood Middle School website at www.humble.k12.tx.uswww.humble.k12.tx.uswww.humble.k12.tx.uswww.humble.k12.tx.us . Order forms can be mailed or personally delivered to the school. Photo: Donald Foisie and Bob Ligon are proud participants of the Veteran’s Honor Garden project.