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Calhoun County ceremony honors 'Boys of Seadrift'

By Elena Watts
Nov. 8, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.

Psalm 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.


Crossroads Veterans Day events

• The following is a list of Veterans Day events throughout the Crossroads.

Victoria County

• VICTORIA - Cemetery flag ceremony, 7:30 a.m. Monday hosted by the Victoria County Veterans Council, on the steps of the Victoria County Courthouse, 115 N. Bridge St., includes a blessing of the flags, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the national anthem. Following the event, teams of veterans will post flags at 32 cemeteries throughout Victoria County.

• VICTORIA - Veterans Day parade, 10 a.m. Monday, sponsored by the Victoria County Veterans Council. The parade travels down Main Street, turns onto Church Street and onto Bridge Street before ending at the Victoria County Courthouse. A ceremony including patriotic songs, the laying of memorial wreaths and speeches will follow on the courthouse steps, 115 N. Bridge St. Guest speaker will be Lazaro O. Camarillo III, with the United Vietnam Veterans of Texas.

• VICTORIA - Free veterans' lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, sponsored by Warriors Weekend at the VFW Hall, 2001 Lova Drive. Free to all veterans and their spouses.

Calhoun County

• PORT LAVACA - Veterans Day Parade, 10 a.m. Saturday, begins at Sandcrab Stadium, 201 Sandcrab Blvd., and ends at the Bayfront Peninsula. A complimentary lunch for veterans and their families follows at the American GI Forum at 2738 W. Main St.

DeWitt County

• CUERO - Local veterans organizations will host a Veterans Day ceremony at the veterans' monument on the DeWitt County Courthouse lawn at 10 a.m. Monday. The featured speaker will be County Judge Daryl Fowler.

• CUERO - A Veterans Day ceremony at Gobbler Stadium at Cuero High School at 9 a.m. Monday. The ceremony will be student run. The public is invited.

Goliad County

• GOLIAD - A Veterans Day ceremony, 10 a.m. Monday at the courthouse square in downtown Goliad. Lunch will be served at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church parish hall, 238 N. Commercial St. The event is free and open to the public. It celebrates veterans and current military servicemen or women.

Jackson County

• GANADO - Veterans Day field of honor will be erected with American flags dedicated to military servicemen and women. Taps will be played 8 p.m. Monday.

Lavaca County

• HALLETTSVILLE - The Hallettsville school district will host a Veterans Day program at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the Hallettsville High School gymnasium.

• HALLETTSVILLE - Sacred Heart Catholic School will host a Veterans Day program at 8:05 a.m. Monday in the gymnasium. Marine Corps veteran Claude Vargo will be the guest speaker. A tank commander during the Vietnam War and the recipient of three Purple Hearts, Vargo has family in Lavaca County. The public, especially veterans, are invited to attend.

• SHINER - A Veterans Day program will be at 2:55 p.m. Monday at Shiner High School.

Refugio County

• REFUGIO - Veterans Day Breakfast, 8-9 a.m. Monday, VFW Post 6290, 1002 Victoria Road, hosted by the Refugio Chamber of Commerce. Speakers will be Lenny Anzaldua, city councilman, Richard Sanchez, Refugio County's veterans service officer, and Cpt. Rene Coronado, U.S. Army. The breakfast is sponsored by Henry's Mexican Food.

• AUSTWELL - Veterans Day Austwell-Tivoli School District, open to the public, 2 p.m. Monday, 207 Red Fish St. An honor guard from VFW Post 6290 will post colors. Speaker is Principal Stephen Maldonado; kindergarten through sixth grade will perform four patriotic songs.

He shall cover thee with his feathers,

and under his wings shalt thou trust:

his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

- from Psalms 91

PORT LAVACA - Vietnam veteran Don Holden, 67, led the procession into the Calhoun High School Auditorium on Friday.

Joining him were his fellow Seadrift veterans who were honored at the The school's annual Veterans Day ceremony. The program honored all Calhoun County veterans, but paid special homage to "The Boys of Seadrift."

"I think about Sgt. Rocky Taylor today, a Seadrift boy who didn't come home," Holden said of the meaning of Veterans Day. "He was younger, but we all grew up together."

Holden served four years on a Navy aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Enterprise, off the coast of Vietnam.

His father, also a native of Seadrift, served in World War II.

The programs for the two-hour ceremony and volunteer T-shirts read: "The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots."

And many made the ultimate sacrifice.

Risers stacked with Calhoun High School Choir students filled the auditorium stage.

Choir director Mary Lynn McMichael conducted the perfectly harmonized voices as they sang the national anthem.

Images of more than 300 area veterans filled the screen that dropped from the auditorium ceiling against a backdrop of patriotic tunes and applause.

Thirty students from the Seadrift Elementary School were seated in the front of the auditorium next to the veterans.

Jacque Rudd, a Calhoun High School teacher who coordinated the event with her students, presented historical vignettes about military history.

Rudd's "The Boys of Seadrift" presentation began with a few demographics.

The land area of Seadrift, affectionately known as the "Village by the Bay," spans about two square miles and is populated by about 1,400 residents.

Many young Seadrift men joined the war effort when the United States entered World War II in 1941, Rudd said.

Most of the soldiers were assigned to combat units that fought in the Europe and Pacific theaters. Some even went to North Africa, she added.

"Fifty-two men from a little church in Seadrift bravely and courageously answered the call to serve during one of the country's most dangerous times," Rudd said.

As a sign of support for the men, Pastor Bob Caddell, of Seadrift Assembly of God, started a prayer group that met at 10 a.m. Tuesdays for family members to pray for the safe return of their soldiers.

The meeting soon became a daily ritual, and the group became known as the Seadrift Intercessors. Psalm 91 became their mantra.

During that time the pastor asked the families to bring photographs of the 52 soldiers associated with the church.

"Photos of the men were placed in a large frame and hung on the church wall like a collage of prayer," Rudd said. "Some of those who prayed have grandchildren and great-grandchildren in this auditorium today."

When the war ended, all 52 men returned home. Not a single one was injured.



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