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New Vietnam War memorial installed to replace one with errors

By MARIAN ACCARDI | The Decatur Daily, Ala. | Published: August 5, 2017

ATHENS, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — Skip Ferguson, commandant of the local Marine Corps League, watched with pride Friday as a new Vietnam War memorial was installed on the Limestone County Courthouse grounds.

The 6-foot-tall granite monument replaces the stone that misspelled Vietnam and omitted the names of four fallen Limestone County servicemen.

"It feels good to finally see it installed," said Ferguson, a Vietnam-era veteran who's been involved in the effort for several years. "I just wish Tony (Grigsby) was here to see this."

Grigsby, a longtime member of the Limestone County Burial Detail who tried for years to get the mistakes corrected, died last year.

"He was passionate about this," Limestone County Commission Chairman Mark Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough said Grigsby, a longtime friend, started calling him about the issue soon after he took office in 2014.

"We need to remember our fallen heroes," said Yarbrough, who stopped by Friday morning to check on the progress of the installation by a Clark Memorials crew.

The monument corrects the spelling error and adds the names of Cpl. Roy Lee Moore, Seaman Thomas Belue Box, Lt. Morgan William Weed and Pfc. Ruben Lee Horton.

Paul Goehler, a Vietnam-era veteran, and Pierre Tourney Jr., the owner of Clark Memorials in Decatur, agreed to pay for the replacement, and Sandy Thompson, the director of the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives in Athens, started researching to find the missing names.

"I think it's about time we did this," Thompson said Friday, joining Ferguson on the courthouse grounds. "It's long overdue."

Next to the Vietnam War memorial, two other monuments were placed to honor Maj. William Ellis Winter, Lance Cpl. Adam Loggins, and Pfc. Ricky L. Turner. Winter, a Marine, died in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon, in a terrorist bombing of his barracks. Loggins, a Marine, was killed in action in 2007 in Iraq, and Turner, a U.S. Army soldier, was killed in 2009 in Iraq by an improvised explosive device.

Ferguson said the Marine Corps League raised money through donations to pay for the two additional monuments.

The monuments face the courthouse and two benches on the grounds.

A dedication ceremony for all the new monuments is planned for 11 a.m. today. Local author and retired attorney Jerry Barksdale, Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks and Yarbrough will speak at the dedication.

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(c)2017 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)
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