Local News

May 24, 2014

Murray County honors its citizens who died in war

— CHATSWORTH — Some 70 years later, Murray County resident Marvin Childers can still recall the words of Gen. George S. Patton speaking to him and other soldiers before the start of a battle in World War II.

“He told us we were part of the best army in the world,” Childers recalled. “He said this is not my army. It isn’t Eisenhower’s. It’s your army. He pointed to specific men sitting on the ground in front of him, called them by name and said ‘It’s yours, it’s yours and it’s yours.’”

But then Patton said something that chilled Childers and drove home the seriousness of the war.

“He said, ‘I’m going to Berlin even of it takes two trucks full of dog tags (from dead American soldiers) to get there,” he said.

Childers, 98, who is believed to be Murray County’s oldest living veteran, was honored Saturday as part of the Memorial Day celebration at Murray County Veterans Memorial Park  at 651 Hyden Tyler Road in Chatsworth.

A Murray County native “born and raised on the (Conasauga) river,” Childers took part in and survived some of the heaviest fighting witnessed by American forces in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. Organizers presented Childers with a German flag believed to have been captured at the Battle of the Bulge.

“I’m just amazed, and we are so honored,” Childers’ daughter Gwendolyn Bailey said. “That flag. It’s so amazing. All of our veterans have given so much, and some of them made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We owe them so much, and it’s just a privilege to be here and be able to help honor them.”

Memorial Day marks the time when Americans remember and honor the men and women who died serving in the United States military. And Saturday’s ceremony including a reading of the names of all Murray County residents who died in combat from World War I to the Vietnam War.

A choir of students from Chatsworth Elementary School and Eton Elementary School performed the national anthem as well as patriotic and military-themed songs. The Murray County Sheriff’s Office honor guard performed a three-volley salute.

“I thought everything was well done,” Chatsworth resident Jane Hamilton said. “I don’t have any living family members in the military, but both of my grandfathers served, and I think they would be proud to see people taking part in something like this.”

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