NEW HAVEN — In keeping with the Bend Area Veterans Day tradition, two World War II veterans received special recognition Saturday evening in New Haven.
Raymond Richard Sisk of Letart and David W. “Bill” McFarland of New Haven were chosen as this year’s recipients of certificates and encased American Flags. Honoring the men were members of the Smith-Capehart American Legion Post 140 of New Haven and Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason. Both Sisk and McFarland are U.S. Navy veterans.
Sisk enlisted in the Navy in October 1944 at the age of 18. He attended basic training at Samson Training Base in New York, and his rank was 1st Class Seaman.
After basic training, Sisk went to the Naval Air Station at Cape Cod, where he was stationed on the ship WSD56. This ship picked up torpedoes from airplane target practice.
His next station was in Quanset Point, Rhode Island, at the Naval Air Station for Air/Sea Rescue. Sisk’s final station was in San Francisco on the AE18 USS Paricutin until his honorable discharge in October 1947.
McFarland joined the service at the age of 22, after being laid off at the TNT plant near Point Pleasant. He served as a Navy gunner on a merchant ship carrying supplies to aid the Allied cause. As the chief gunner aboard ship, he was in charge of 26 servicemen and was responsible for the upkeep of the guns.
The ship McFarland was on made several trips across the Atlantic Ocean carrying the supplies. He said the sea was always littered with German submarines, and parts of ships that had been destroyed could be seen floating.
McFarland and all five of his brothers joined the military. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 20, 1945.
Ryan Harbour, a member of Boy Scout Troop 235 of Chester, Ohio, presented Sisk with his certificate and flag. McFarland was unable to attend, but a nephew accepted the items on his behalf.
Other members of Boy Scout Troop 235 served as flag bearers during the ceremony, under Scout Master Mike Harbour. Legion member David Sigman served as emcee, and Ken Vickers gave the opening and closing prayers.
Steve VanMeter, a member of the Drew-Webster American Legion Post 39 of Pomeroy, served as guest speaker. He told those attending of the many services the veterans perform, adding they don’t just stop after their military days are over.
VanMeter also touched on the controversy surrounding the National Football League and some of the players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem and the American Flag. He added he felt people should kneel to pray, but stand for the flag.
Also during the candlelight service, the P.O.W./M.I.A. table ceremony was held. The Missing Man, or Fallen Comrade Table, is a symbolic and solemn remembrance of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.