Star Group holds annual remembrance event
By PAMELA GRANT
For many, the haunting bugle call of “Taps” serves as a poignant reminder of the many soldiers who sacrificed everything for our great nation.
Arthur Bryan had the honor of playing “Taps” at the Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans’ annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony. The SG – VHV held their ceremony at their headquarters’ location at 202 S. 4th St. on Monday afternoon.
The annual ceremony seeks to honor all those military men and women who are no longer with us. To that end, Star Group and other local groups symbolically present wreaths to honor those fallen soldiers.
Ten groups attended this year’s remembrance including Star Group, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Jewish War Veterans, VFW Post 9191 and VFW Post 3892, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 29, Fort Hood Area Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1000, Bring Everyone In The Zone, Operation Stand Down Central Texas, and Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association Chapter 94.
“The purpose of this event is to celebrate our fallen comrades,” said Joseph Hill Jr., the Event Coordinator for SG – VHV. “This is our way of remembering…This is my way of giving back to the community.”
“Let us not forget those that came before us. Our Vietnam veterans, World War 1, World War II veterans, they led the way,” said Jonathan Haywood, President of the SG – VHV, “On behalf of our organization, for everyone who has served we thank you very much.”
After the wreath presentations, Haywood lined up the members of the Five Hills Royalty, especially its youngest members, who attended the remembrance. He pointed to the young members, noting that they are our future, that it’s the children who will take their place. It’s up to the older generations to educate our youth, but it’s up to them to decide the future of our nation.
“We have to educate our children. Some of the children don’t even know their history,” said Jenny Wankmueller, who added that events like the one held on Monday are a good way to teach them. “I see these young kids here, and it’s wonderful to have them.”
Wankmueller and her husband, George Wankmueller represented their group, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, with their wreath. This year was the group’s third year participating in the SG – VHV’s remembrance event.
The Wankmuellers talked about how the Jewish soldiers helped liberate camps in Auschwitz and how the Jewish War Veterans group was founded in 1896 by a group of Jewish veterans from the Civil War after a series of anti-Semitic comments about the lack of Jewish service in the war. However, they have served in our military for much longer than that, having important rolls in WWI and WWII.
George Wankmueller served for 20 years (from 1974 until 1994) as an Army Medic and will be retiring from working at the VA this December. Both Wankmuellers agreed that it’s important to continue to hold and attend events like the SG – VHV’s remembrance event.
“History has a way of repeating itself,” said George Wankmueller. “We’re starting to see history repeat itself now with the anti-Semitism. We say at the Holocaust remembrance, ‘Never again’. We definitely want to make sure, ‘Never again’. We don’t want another 9/11. We don’t want another Civil War. The bottom line is that we have to make sure that we go on and tell our stories so that people understand that war is not a game. It takes lives. It affects people. It not only affects the soldiers; it affects the generations of that family down the road.”