Day 1 of the Madison Co. Veterans event “A Salute to Our Armed Forces”

Madison Co Veterans Celebration 2011 ” A Salute to Our Armed Forces”
The Madison Co. Veterans Celebration kicked off their Friday events with a Job Fair, Motorcycle Show, Antique Tractor Show, vendors and Bluegrass Music by Joe & Stacy Isaacs and New Generation Bluegrass Band. With weekend long rain and temperatures in the fifties leading up to the festivities, the Friday and Saturday event certainly was shined upon with no rain, lots of sunshine and temperatures in the eighties. On Saturday the celebration kicked off with the Antique Tractor Show, Classic Car Show, vendors, and day long entertainment by Richard McHargue Cloggers, Blake Maupin “Michael Jackson Impersonator”, KY Mountain Trio, Super Fecta, Will “Teen King” Reynolds, Jon Russell and Kristy Miller. The Honor Ceremony which took place Saturday, with special guest speaker Lt. General Robert Yerks, Army (Ret.), from Richmond, KY with whom fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
General Yerks, 83, spoke to the audience about sacrifice.
“I know soldiers,” he said. “I really do know soldiers. I served in two wars and was wounded in both. In World War II, I was a high school kid while the great sacrifices were being made.”
He spoke of a beautiful girl he dated in high school named Iris Anderson.
“Next month, she and I will celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary,” he said to much applause from the crowd.
“One day, I returned to her home after a date and there was overwhelming distress in the Anderson household,” he said. “They had just been told their son, Iris’ brother Norman, was missing in action. He was shot down in the Philippines and was never recovered. Sacrifice. That’s how I know sacrifice.”
Lt. General Robert Yerks graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West in 1951 with the Korean War under way and was immediately sent to war.
During the Korean War, in the Chorwon Valley, between North and South Korea, Yerks company commander 1st Lieutenant Ed Chavis was shot in the chest and died in action, it was then 2nd Lieutenant Robert Yerks’ responsibility to lead an infantry up White Horse Mountain into a five days of blood and sacrifice.
Only 47 of the 150 men who followed Yerks up the hill survived, he said. Yerks was awarded the Silver Star for valor, but said he pinned it on a private in his company, saying every man in the unit displayed equal courage. General Yerks thanked the soldiers for their sacrifice and reminded the audience to continue to pray for those that are still at war and the soldiers that may one day be called to duty. General Yerks speech ended with a standing ovation from the crowd.
There were several dignitaries that attended the Honor Ceremony including State Representative, Rita Smart; State Senator, Jared Carpenter; State Representative, Richard Henderson of Mt.Sterling and Judge Nora Shepherd.
The celebration ended with a ticket drawing of the grand prize giveaway of a 2011 John Deere Gator with the lucky ticket going to Gary Vencill of Richmond, KY, second place winner of $500 cash going to Penny Bauers of Georgia and third place prize of $300 cash going to a lucky winner from London, KY. The Madison County Veterans would like to thank everyone who purchased a ticket and everyone who supported “A Salute to Our Armed Forces” Welcome Home Celebration.

Story by: Rhonda McIntyre
Photos by: Tinsley Carter
(click on photos to enlarge)

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