If you drive up to Atlanta and walk up the entrance way to the James “Sloppy” Floyd Veteran Memorial Building, also known as the Twin Towers Office Building, across the street from the state capitol, there is a plaque mounted on a marble base under a gazebo area. It lists a few of the military personnel from Georgia who were killed in World War II. One of those names is Joseph Patterson Stanford. He was my uncle.
Joe Pat, as my father told me his brother was known, never saw actual combat. He was a Lieutenant Navigator in the Army Air Corps, and died in a training accident on July 14, 1942. He was 22 years old.
The Stanfords, at least my branch of them, have been lucky in war. Joe Pat was the only member of the family to die during World War II, or any war or conflict since then. My father was in the Army in WWII and saw action in the South Pacific. Another uncle served in the Navy during WWII, and one of my aunts married a soldier in 1935 and he also saw action in WWII. I did have another uncle who died in Tokyo in 1946, but he was working for the Federal Finance Office at the time.
Since then, we have not had any member of our family serve in an area of conflict. My two older brothers were in ROTC in college and both served in the Army Reserves, but neither served overseas. The closest I’ve come has been my best friend, Tom, who was in the Marines and served two tours of duty in Lebanon and took part in the invasion of Grenada.
But this doesn’t mean I don’t honor those who have served in the military. When I came to The Thomaston Times in 2010, the paper was already putting out an annual Veterans Day special section in which photos and brief biographies of veterans from Upson County are featured. We’ve continued to do that each year, and last year had 147 photos in the section.
We are continuing the Veterans Day special section this year, and hope you will join us in making it another keepsake for our veterans and their families. You can do that in one of two ways.
The first way is, if you haven’t already given us a photo and information about a loved one or friend who has served or is currently serving in the military, don’t hesitate to turn it in. You can send the photo and information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, mail it to The Thomaston Times, P. O. Box 430, Thomaston, GA, 30286, or bring it by our office at 109 N. Center Street. If you mail a photo or bring it by our office, we will make a copy of it and send or give the original back to you. If you don’t have a photo, but still want to get the information in, please send it. We need the person’s name, branch of service, rank, and the years he or she served. You can also add places where they served tours of duty, and where they are now.
The second way is by supporting our special issue by purchasing an ad. The ads come in different sizes and prices, and we can put just about anything in them. Our advertising sales folk – Laurie Lewis and Tandi Holifield – will be calling on businesses this week, and we hope you can find room in your budget to help us honor our veterans. If you are an individual who would like to place an ad in our special section, you can contact us at 706-647-5414, or send an email to my address above and I’ll forward it to the appropriate place.
Help us to say “thank you” to our veterans.