Still Standing Tall: Ceremony pays tribute to three highly-decorated veterans of WWII
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Three Hopkins County veterans were recognized during Veterans Day ceremonies on the courthouse square. Walter Grice, seated left, and Bill Wilson, right, were honored as being among the most highly decorated veterans in the county by Clayton McGraw (left), Hopkins County Military Coalition commander. Unable to attend was Lonnie Beadles, who has 20 medals, ribbons and stars.
Staff Photo By Kerry Craig

Nov. 13, 2005 -- Amidst the traditional flag ceremonies and speeches, Hopkins County paid tribute to three highly decorated World War II veterans during a Veterans Day ceremony on the courthouse square Friday afternoon.

Those recognized included Bill Wilson, who at the age of 18 joined the Navy in March of 1941 and was at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor when the island was attacked by Japan.

Wilson later was transferred to the aircraft carrier Hornet and was aboard the ship when it was sunk. After leaving the service, Wilson became a coach and teacher.

Walter Grice was inducted into the military in July of 1943 and served with the 37th Division, 145th Regiment, and saw action in many of the South Pacific islands. After being seriously wounded, Grice was discharged in January of 1946. Grice was awarded a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star and the Phillipine Theater Badge.

Staff Photo By Kerry Craig

Although he was unable to attend the ceremonies, Lonnie A. Beadles was recognized as being one of the most decorated Hopkins County soldiers from World War II.

Beadles served in the 11th Air Cargo Re-supply Squadron. He received a Battle Star for three years of service in the South Pacific, and a Battle Star for New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon and Lady Island. He received the Philippines Liberation Ribbon with 1 Bronze Star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and the Distinguished Unit Badge of the 96th Headquarters, 6th Army in 1945. In 1999, he was honored by the General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines. He received the Philippine Liberation Medal, Philippine Defense Medal, Philippine Independence Medal and a Republic Presidential Citation Badge, along with three Bronze Stars and three Battle Stars from the Philippine government. In total, he has 20 medals, ribbons and stars.. 

The Sulphur Springs High School Band presented a special program during the ceremony honoring all veterans in the county.

The Hopkins County Military Coalition also presented and honored the flag and closed the ceremonies with a seven-gun, three-volley salute.

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