Medal of Honor ceremony in Gladewater - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Medal of Honor ceremony in Gladewater

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - A solemn ceremony was held to honor a medal of honor recipient in Gladewater today.

Army Master sergeant Travis E. Watkins earned a Silver Star during World War II and today was acknowledged by a Korean delegation for his bravery in the Korean War. 

Today the people of Gladewater remembered a home town hero in a ceremony focused on what his sacrifice has meant to generations.

"It is the veteran and not the preacher who has given us freedom of religion," said state representative and Army veteran Leo Berman, "It is the veteran and not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press."

"We have to honor the people that came before us that paved the way," said Air Force veteran John Ashcraft.

A south Korean group sang their national anthem at graveside, and a Korean military attache came to honor Watkins.

"On behalf of all Koreans I am authorized to extend our heartfelt appreciation for his invaluable sacrifices," said Brigadier General Kook Whan Kim of the South Korean Army.

The flag that has flown over Watkins grave for a year, was presented to Brigadier General Kim.  As a piper played, a single vintage warplane flew over in honor of Watkins.

"When we forget to honor our heroes we will have no heroes to honor," says Ashcraft.

 Of the hundreds of thousands who fought in Korea, only 134 Medals of Honor have been awarded to Korean War veterans.

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