Gerard Dupuy, a Cajun music performer from Moncla, plays “Amazing Grace” at the Avoyelles Vietnam War KIA Monument on Memorial Day. Dupuy sang the classic hymn in English and French.
Avoyelles Parish remembers its fallen heroes on Memorial Day
On a warm, clear Monday morning groups gathered to remember and honor their friends, family members and neighbors who sacrificed their lives fighting this nation’s wars.
One of the parish’s newest Memorial Day events was held at the Avoyelles Vietnam War KIA (Killed In Action) Monument on La. Hwy 1 and Cocoville Road.
Approximately 50 people attended to hear incoming VFW 3139 Post Commander Mark Ponthier deliver a message dedicated to the 15 men who died in Vietnam during that war.
A highlight of the event was Moncla’s Gerard Dupuy performing “Amazing Grace” on the fiddle and singing the hymn in English and French.
The monument in Mansura was dedicated last Veteran’s Day to honor 15 servicemen who died in Vietnam during that war.
Those men, rank, branch of service and date of death, are: Marine Cpl. Brian Gauthier, July 11, 1965; Army Spec. 5 Carver English Jr., Jan. 5, 1966; Army Spec. 4 Richard Desselle, May 1, 1967; Army Staff Sgt. George Randolph, June 19, 1967; Army Cpl. William C. Lemoine, March 17, 1968; Army Spec. 4 Michael Juneau, March 13, 1968; Marine Cpl. Gerald Williber, May 19, 1968; Army Sgt. Robert Daigrepont, July 2, 1968; Army Spec. 4 Mitchell Firmin, Sept. 27, 1968; Army Warrant Officer Gerald Ortego, Nov. 21, 1968; Army 1st Lt. Denny Johnson, Sept. 2, 1969; Army Spec. 5 Cecil Jackson Jr., Aug. 29, 1970; Army Spec. 4 Ronald Greenhouse, Nov. 29, 1970; Army Sgt. Michael Nugent, Dec. 24, 1970; Army Staff Sgt. James Abram, April 9, 1971.
NOT JUST FOR ONE DAY
For the veterans’ organizations, Memorial Day is not only a single day of the year. Their efforts to remember continue year round.
The VFW post, American Legion Post 130, Cenla Honor Guard and the American Legion and VFW auxiliaries are raising funds for a second, smaller memorial marker on La. Hwy 1 at Marksville’s northern city limits.
The next fundraiser will be a Poker Run on July 21. The event is open to the public and will include a raffle of a rifle donated by Pookie’s Archery & Guns and selling cakes and hamburgers.
Registration for the motorcycle poker run is $30 for a single rider and $15 for each additional passenger. Registration includes the cost of a meal.
First place wins $500 cash donated by Avoyelles Bayou Riders Bike Club in memory of Mike Gunnels.
Second place wins a $500 gift package from Paragon Casino Resort. Third place prize is $300 cash donated by Simpson’s Metal Buildings and Tri-Steel Metal & Bayou Ready Mix. Fourth place prize is $100 cash donated by Central Septic Tank & Vacuum.
That section of La. Hwy 1 through Marksville and Mansura has been designated in memory to the 15 men who died in the Vietnam War.
The monument at Cocoville Road will be improved with photos of the men.
Simmesport also held a new Memorial Day ceremony, with VFW Post 7643 formally dedicating the recently completed Veterans Memorial on La. Hwy 1 in Simmesport on Saturday (May 26).
The scene was played out in several other sites around the parish.
Fifth Ward also held its ceremony on Saturday at the Veterans Memorial at the walking track next to Kramer’s Funeral Home.
Other events held on Memorial Day included the ceremonies at Paragon Casino Resort’s Avoyelles Veterans Memorial and in St. Joseph Cemetery #1 in Marksville, in Mansura’s Cochon de Lait Pavilion and in Pythian Cemetery in Bunkie .