WATER VALLEY – On Veterans Day Tuesday, the sacrifices of America’s military members and their families were recognized across the country and at ceremonies in Water Valley.
Mayor Larry Hart shared a personal story about the sacrifice of one veteran and his family during the Veterans Day observance at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4100 on Hwy 315.
He said about 20 years ago a family from Jackson visited Water Valley looking for work with his company. The couple, Jim and Robin Carpenter, have a son, William Kyle Carpenter.
“Kyle grew up and became a Marine,” Hart continued. “At the age of 19, Kyle was deployed to Afghanistan as a corporal.”
During a firefight, a hand grenade landed near Kyle and one of his fellow Marines. Young Kyle instinctively dove on top of the grenade as it exploded. Both Kyle and his buddy were wounded, Hart said.
Kyle was the more severely injured of the two; his skull fractured, an eye blown out, his arm broken in multiple places, shrapnel wounds to his legs and many internal injuries.
Hart said that Kyle remembered in the minutes after the explosion “he made in right with the Lord because he thought he was going to die.”
Four years and 40 surgeries later, Kyle was patched back together. Around that time he received a phone call from President Obama inviting him to the White House where he was to receive the Medal of Honor. At 24 he was the youngest living recipient of the nation’s highest honor.
Hart quoted the young Marine: “I am totally fine knowing that I gave a part of myself to a bigger purpose and a bigger cause. Not only to my country, but giving the people of Afghanistan a better way of life.”
“That’s the kind of guy that he is,” said Hart. “A veteran.”
Kyle is going around the country, sharing his story and encouraging other veterans.
“His life touches so many other people,” Hart said. “We come here today to say thank you to our veterans and to their families. And, on behalf of the City of Water Valley, I say thank you and God bless you.”
After Hart, Commander James Gordon introduced Representative Tommy Reynolds who also praised America’s veterans. “It is a wonderful privilege to be here today with those who have made America what we are today,” he said.
Other speakers included Larry House, who spoke a prayer; Betty Hart, who sang the National Anthem; and Jean Peacock, president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
The annual observance is usually held at the veterans memorial in Railroad Park but was moved to the VFW Post due to the threat of rain. Around 100 people were on hand for the ceremony.
COFFEEVILLE – The Yalobusha Historical Socie-ty (YHS) invites the veterans and their families to honor us with their presence on Thursday, November 20, at 2 p.m. in the YHS headquarters the former Coffeeville Presby-terian Church. Veterans are urged to bring a picture and a statement about duties they performed in the military so that a file can be created in YHS library. Refreshments will be served. Visitors are welcome.