Calhoun County ceremony honors 'Boys of Seadrift'

Elena Watts By Elena Watts

Nov. 8, 2013 at 5:08 a.m.

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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