From Staff Reports
Patriotic music lovers, military veterans, history enthusiasts, and fun-loving Texans will enjoy the Third Medal of Honor Event and Show, presented by the Texas Veterans Parade, at the Palace Theater in Corsicana on Friday night May 20. The sponsor for the evening is Fun Town RV, which recently opened a new superstore in Corsicana, Texas.
Two of the headliners include 2009 Afghanistan Medal of Honor recipient, Army Lt. Col. Will Swenson, and singer Dave Tanner who has performed for three U.S. Presidents, European royalty, and business leaders from four continents. His performance will include the national debut of a song dedicated to the World War II generation.
The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. on May 20 at the Palace, which is the oldest Vaudeville era theater in Texas. Historic military vehicles will line the famous brick street in front of the theater on Sixth Street, in downtown Corsicana, Texas.
Musical genius Dave Tanner will nationally premier a new military tribute song called “The Last Salute.” This tribute honors Corsicana’s favorite World War II hero, Iwo Jima MOH holder Hershel “Woody” Williams. The song was composed by famous singer-songwriter John Gardner Lowell of Montana.
“Having the oldest Medal of Honor in Corsicana last May was a treat,” said Mayor Don Denbow, “and following that with one of the youngest holders of the Medal of Honor as our headliner this year, will complete the circle and honor our Central Texas Veterans in a special way on Armed Forces Day weekend. I know we will have a good turnout at the Palace on Friday, May 20.”
The Song “The Final Salute” is an appeal from the American Veteran community to President Joe Biden to use his sole authority to designate a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from the Second World War, Mr. Hershel “Woody” Williams. The moving last verse of the song is as follows:
“The greatest generation now is fading in the mist
We know their likes will not be seen again
Woody Williams’ own State Funeral will be the perfect gift
to honor the Greatest Generation men.”
Medal of Honor holder, Lt. Col. William Swenson will take the stage to discuss how the events of the 9/11 attack on America changed the course of his life from aspiring to work for the U.S. Department of State to enlisting in the American Army.
In Afghanistan, on Sept. 9, 2009, Army Captain Will Swensen and his combat team were moving on foot into a small village near the Pakistan border when they were ambushed by 60 well-armed and well-positioned enemy fighters. Rocket-propelled grenades, machine-gun fire, and mortars rained down on them for six hours. It became known as the Battle of Ganjgal.
The Choir of the First Baptist Church in Corsicana will be on hand to sing the National Anthem and some patriotic songs to kick off the evening.
“Anyone who attended last year’s Medal of Honor Show with Iwo Jima Medal of Honor hero Woody Williams will understand how special and rare it is to have a Medal of Honor holder in our community for the weekend. There are only 66 of these men living”. said Dr. Danny Reeves, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Corsicana. “Every parent of a Boy Scout in Navarro County should make a commitment to bring their son to shake hands with this America hero, Lt. Col. Swenson.”
Surrounded on three sides by Muslim fighters, Captain Swenson personally returned fire, while coordinating and directing the fire of his men. Enemy radio transmissions demanded his surrender. He responded with a grenade. This act of defiance rallied his comrades to repel the enemy’s advance. His exceptional leadership. selflessness and tough resistance turned what the enemy thought was going to be a massacre into a stalemate. Will Swenson was both a leader and a servant that September morning.
“I have always enjoyed being a supporter of Texas Veterans and was proud our company could jump on board,” stated Jarrod McGhee, Fun Town RV Founder & CEO, who is also a Corsicana native. “With the opening of our new superstore here in Corsicana, this partnership with Mr. Bill McNutt, Elizabeth Brown, Martin Blanchard and the rest of their board made a lot of sense for Fun Town RV. “
Tickets include the wine, beer, and food reception and the program that starts at 6:30 p.m. The Texas Veterans Parade will be presenting awards that evening. They include the Gov. Beauford Jester Award, the James Acree Award, the Congressman Barton-Wright Award, and the prestigious Navarro-Garcia award.
A few dozen tickets still remain. Please call 214-537-9311 for more information.
The website of the Texas Veterans Parade is www.TexasVeteransParade.org.
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