VIDEO: Gathering to Remember and Honor

A beautiful spring Monday was the perfect setting for a Memorial Day gathering in Salina.

Members of the Salina American Legion, Salina Veteran’s of Foreign Wars, and American Legion Riders gathered along with fiends, well-wishers, and even strangers who simply wanted to show some support and gratitude. Following brief cemetery services at Gypsum Hill Cemetery and at Roselawn Cemetery, events culminated with a gathering at the Saline County War Memorial in Sunset Park.

The cemetery ceremonies included brief tributes as flowers were presented at the military memorial in each location.

During the gathering at the Saline County War Memorial in Sunset Park a new memorial to Saline County prisoners of war and missing in action was dedicated.

Salina Mayor Mike Hoppock spoke at the event, as did  Ann Mills-Griffiths, a nationally-known advocate for Missing in Action / POW soldiers and their families.

Also attending was Dale Pugh, the brother of Dennis Pugh who is still listed as missing in action. Some of Dennis’s classmates from Salina High School were at the event as well as family and other friends.

The Salina ceremony ended with a moment of silence, a 21 gun salute, and “Taps”.

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The following 11 individuals were POWs from Saline County and will be honored with inscribed paving bricks at the new site:

  • Donald A. Achenbach, WWII/AF BS452 BG
  • James Cole, WWII/Air Force
  • ¬†Harold Fulton, WWII/Army AF 15AF
  • Wilbur D. Gott, WWII/Army 28INF
  • Robert H. Maxey, Korea, Vietnam/Army Co G 32 Regt 7 Div
  • Thomas A. McGinness, WWII/Army
  • Vernon K. Rawlings, WWII/8AF 9
  • Kenneth Schoshke, WWII/Army 34INF
  • Charlie A. Stanley, WWII/Army AF B24 Bomber Pilot
  • Ernest V. Swanson, WWII/Army AF ETO 44BG
  • Lewis J. Wehr, WWII/Army 31INF

Major Dennis Gerard Pugh, Vietnam, 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th U.S. Air Force, was the only individual from Saline County MIA, and is honored with the monument.