By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Local mason John Worsley laid 20 more bricks in honor of veterans Thursday morning. The bricks are an addition to a memorial at the base of a wall adjacent to the Colonial Theater, which depicts action scenes from previous American wars. Thursday’s addition brought the total number of bricks in the memorial up to 695.
Eugene Joyner, a U.S. Army, aviation veteran who spent 18 months in Vietnam, watched as a brick was cemented into the memorial in his honor.
“I’m getting recognition for something I never got recognition for,” Joyner said. He wasn’t exactly hailed as a hero upon returning from Vietnam and said he went through a “healing process” after his return. Joyner’s daughter Genia Jensen purchased the brick in his honor.
“I thought it was something nice to do for him,” she said. “He was one of the lucky ones. He made it out (of Vietnam).”
Joyner has two brothers – James C. Joyner and Wiley Joyner Jr. – who also served their country in the military. He plans to have two bricks placed next to his in the memorial in their honor.
Norfleet Sugg, a World War II veteran present at the bricklaying ceremony, pointed out the significance of two of the veterans having a brick laid in their memory.
“Webb Stallings was the first person in our part of Edgecombe County to be killed in World War II,” he said. “J.H. Stallings was the last killed in World War II.”
Sugg also noted American Legion Post 316, Pinetops, purchased several bricks for veterans who “didn’t have any family left or are economically stressed.” Webb Stallings was one of those.
The first bricks were laid at the memorial four years ago.
“It gives the family something to remember them by,” said George Banks of the Edgecombe County Veterans’ Military Museum. He said the brick memorial is a major fundraiser for the museum.
Men and women currently serving in a branch of the military, living veterans and deceased veterans all can be honored by the laying of a brick, according to Banks.
“It doesn’t matter what part you played,” Banks said.
As the familiar expression goes, “All gave some, but some gave all.”
To purchase a brick, call the museum at 823-0891.
Those veterans honored Thursday include:
S. Dexter Acree, U.S. Army, 1944-1945
Herbert T. Bailey Sr. U.S. Army, 1943-1945
Hubert Burress, U.S. Navy, 1943-1946
Barbara A. Carter, U.S. Air Force, 1968-1988
William Lee Cooper, Army National Guard, 1965-1991
Willie Edwards, U.S. Army, 1942-1945
Wiley Ford, U.S. Army, 1959-1965
Elwood Harrell, U.S. Army, 1941-1946
Eugene R. Joyner, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1964-1967
Dennis L. Phillips, U.S. Air Force K9, 1966-1970
Ellis E. Phillips, U.S. Air Force, 1941-1945
Walter Phillips, U.S. Marine Corps, 1943-1945
Boice Pittman, U.S. Marine Corps, Korea-Vietnam, 1946-1978
J.H. Stallings, U.S. Army, KIA 1945
Webb Stallings, American Legion Post 316, Pinetops
Lilly P. Taylor,U.S. Army Nurse Corps, 1945-1947
Andrew D. Webb, U.S. Army KIA, 1943
George White, U.S. Army Vietnam, 1968-1971
Roger Whitley Jr., U.S. Air Force, 1942-1976
Billy Williams, U.S. Navy, 1943-1946