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Tickfaw honors US Vets with prayer, Christmas wreaths, music video

Tickfaw honors US Vets with prayer, Christmas wreaths, music video

Author: Anonym/Saturday, December 13, 2014/Categories: Front Page, Latest Stories

Vintage vehicles, motorcycles, leather jackets, and veterans.

It is impossible to define the villagers of Tickfaw without them.

More than ever, with every passing generation, the little village in center-Tangipahoa Parish makes it their mission to assure America’s hometown veterans are not forgotten, and they’ll march in processions, roar their engines, and acknowledge these veterans with every holiday to make that happen (as these videos hopefully do, made for the village by Tickfaw native and AN17 Reporter Alissa Vilardo, specifically for this purpose.)

On Saturday, Dec. 13, townspeople and dignitaries gathered at Our Lady of Pompeii cemetery at 11 a.m. to acknowledge their local heroes; precisely the same time Arlington National Cemetery recognized their own.

The ceremony is called Wreaths Across America, and has taken up the challenge to lay Christmas wreaths at every soldiers’ grave during the holiday season. The non-profit organization officially took root in 2007 by hosting their own Christmas wreath ceremony at Arlington, and has since expanded their efforts to support other groups across the country who want to do the same.

Tangipahoa Parish Councilman Louis “Nick” Joseph began the ceremony with a moment of silence as echoed in Arlington, then began a prayer for the crowd to honor and thank all veterans past and present, POW’s and MIA’s.

“We are one nation, one flag” Joseph said.

And within the councilman’s inspirational words came also a quote from former president Ronald Reagan:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

As Joseph prayed aloud for the veterans who sacrificed all so that we may live, breathe, walk, and pray in freedom, lifelong resident Frances Dorsa, above, took the councilman’s words to heart and kissed her rosary.

Joseph asked visitors to take a few moments to look at the names on the headstones, then research them on the internet where they will soon discover that these soldiers were more than an etched name and number. They were fathers, sons, brother and uncles;  cousins, mothers, daughters and aunts too. See video below:



More dignitaries present for Saturday's WAA event were Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess, Tangipahoa School Board member Sandra Bailey-Simmons, Tickfaw Mayor Tony Lamonte and several council members.

Cadets from the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program, which is made up of members statewide, marched and presented colors, then retired them with precision.

Also, Police Chief Frank DiBenedetto along with many of his officers, and Chief Jimmy Sparacello who’d recently retired as Chief of Police, but would never miss this observance so dear to him.

Tickfaw’s wreath laying ceremony could not have been done without the support of the retired chief, said event organizer Bob Wegmann.

Wegmann said it took him and Sparacello over three hours to identify every single veteran laid to rest at Pompeii.

One of those veterans Sparacello laid a wreath personally for, was Purple Heart recipient of World War II, Guy John Calderone.

Volunteers from veterans’ organizations and American Legion also placed wreaths for their fellow veterans at rest in Pompeii, and at the flag of their respective branch of service.

Dressed in biker leather and long hair, these volunteers looked right at home in the Village.

But perhaps veteran Tommy Munster surmised his personal sentiments best when speaking of his friend and Medal of Honor recipient, Raymond M. Clausen, Jr., who rescued eleven fellow Marines, recovering one, while under heavy enemy fire in a minefield in Vietnam.

Said Munster, “Rest in peace, bro.”



See more videos at:

Mother of Grace Procession, Tickfaw La., 2013

Flag Raising Ceremony in the Village of Tickfaw, La.

Mother of Grace Procession, Tickfaw La., 2014



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