Wall of Honor

Hayne Palmer, a parishoner at St. Anna's Catholic Church in Monroe, views the Wall of Honor.

MONROE, Ga. — Roy Rogers famously once said, “We can’t all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”

Whether it is wartime or peacetime, whether they are living, or deceased we honor our veterans in the U.S. Many will say “I’m not a hero, I was just doing my job.”

Just doing a job? The job of defending our nation is something that less than 1% of our population ever volunteer to do.

To be exact, only 1.4 million people serve in the U.S. military today. With a population of 333.6 million, there are fewer than 19 million veterans living in the U.S. today and each deserve our honor and respect — precisely why St. Anna’s Knights of Columbus Council 14425 is paying tribute for the fourth straight year with their Wall of Honor at their church in Monroe.

I’m not surprised by the success of this program. Our parish and community are one of the most patriotic I’ve encountered including my 27 years of active-duty service.

Having so many connections to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard in the St. Anna’s family was reason enough to want to pay tribute by building a 32-foot portable Wall of Honor that will remain up in the St. Anna’s church Narthex until Nov. 30.

The respect for the Wall brings more pictures and names with more stories to learn and share. The wall has grown from 204 pictures and names to 316 in just four years.

“I’m thrilled to have my grandfather, father and brother displayed on the wall this year. It’s the least our family can do to honor their service,” said Michael Plumb, a long-time parishioner at St Anna’s.

In 2021 we’ve seen tragic loss in our military during the withdrawal in Afghanistan, losing 13 U.S. service members and then most recently, retired Gen. Colin Powell.

It’s important to Father Daniel Toof to let our gratitude be known now to our veterans, especially to those who served and who are still living.

“It’s an honor for me to support this program at St. Anna’s and see our community’s veterans and their families recognized for their service,” he said.

It’s true we can’t all be heroes, but they are among us, and we owe them a tremendous debt. A growing Wall of Honor at St. Anna’s is a small token of appreciation to the sacrifices our military and their families have made.

There will be 13 Gold Star members recognized on the wall this year. Their families are part of a club they didn’t want to be a member of … they all have lost a service member in the line of duty… just doing their job.

The writer is retired U.S. Air Force colonel who is the grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 14425 and chairperson of the St. Anna’s Catholic Church Wall of Honor.

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