American Legion honors fallen heroes; 98-year-old WWII veteran shares experience

James T. Manley War Memorial Courtyard dedicated

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Veterans and their families gathered together in the American Legion Post 23’s building to remember their fallen comrades this Memorial Day over their annual luncheon.

To start the luncheon off, American Legion Post 23 Commander Malcom Cherry dedicated laser carved memorial stones that sit outside the building as the ‘James T. Manley War Memorial Courtyard’. After serving in Vietnam, Manley spent his years as the finance officer at the legion, and a servant to others in Bowling Green.

Honorable Jody Richards attended the Memorial Day service as a guest speaker and friend of the American Legion.

“Memorial Day is a very important day, because we are able to have ceremonies like this all across America and remember and honor the sacrifices of soldiers who died for America,” said Richards. “They died for our democracy and for our freedom, and it’s just important to remember them.”

The Bowling Green Police Department Honor Guard performed their 3 Volley Salute in honor of the people killed in war.

The American Legion also honored those who went missing in action or were prisoners of war, as well as their brother and sister veterans at the luncheon.

Past Lieutenant Governor and Air Force veteran Jenean Hampton said, “I truly appreciate [this Memorial Day Luncheon Service]. We had a handful of WWII veterans today… I just hope every American appreciates the freedoms that we do have and what it takes to maintain those freedoms. That’s what today is about, and that’s why I’m here.”

One of those World War II veterans who swore to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies is 98-year-old Naval Veteran James F. Wren.

Wren fought in seven invasions, one alongside General Patton. The packed American Legion building gave him and the other few remaining WWII veterans a long round of applause in gratitude for their services.

“This is the greatest country in the world,” said Wren. “[The reunions for one of the ships I was on] at the time, they were mostly World War II [veterans]. Now, I’m the only one that’s going…It’s good to come to a place like this where everybody seems to enjoy and remember it… Yeah, it makes you feel good.”

To those who gave their lives for America’s freedom, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.