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19th Annual Memorial Cemetery Walk

American Legion Glen Hill Post 287 Honor Guard were present at the Historical Society’s annual Cemetery Walk last Sunday.

by Lois Allen

On May 26, 2019, residents and the public at large were invited to take a walk through Elmwood Cemetery and learn about the lives of just a few of the men who risked it all, even their lives to serve our country and ensure freedom for us and those around the world. Hosted by the Cedar Springs Historical Society for nearly two decades, a small gathering listened as the sun made an appearance on a cloudy day while the stories of five of those brave soldiers were revealed.

Assisted by the Glen Hill Post of the American Legion honor guard, the group listened to the story of among others, Richard Allen, a veteran of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was a conflict that few people understood. With the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, America’s involvement actually began during the Eisenhower Administration in 1954. The French asked for U.S. Air support during their last stand against the North Vietnamese.

During the ten years of troop involvement in Vietnam, 58,000 service men and women were killed or listed as MIA’s. Most returning Vietnam vets gained small homage – they were not given a parade, and were unable to find outlet for the horrors they experienced.

The dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial on Memorial Day 1982 helped propel a change of attitude and development of treatment for Vietnam vets.

Richard Allen

Richard Allen of Cedar Springs was among those who served and fought in those foreign jungles.

Richard Allen was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1949, the only son of Elton and Aletha Allen. (Not related to the Allens’ that started the Squire and the Post newspapers.) He attended Cedar Springs High School and graduated in 1967, 29th in a class of 127 with a college prep diploma. Instead of a college education, Richard entered the U.S. Navy. According to the V.A. Department, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder afflicts nearly 1 million Vietnam Veterans. Symptoms include flashbacks, paranoia, emotional detachment, hostility, substance abuse and social alienation. This used to be termed “shell shock”. Only in recent years has treatment been developed that has showed some success.

Richard died at his home in Cedar Springs on July 21, 1977 at the age of 27.  Although he didn’t die in battle, he gave his life as many others whose lives were forever changed by the war experience.

Also remembered and whose stories were narrated for those in attendence included Leander Jewell, a Cedar Springs veteran of the Civil War, narrated by Nancy Starr. Narrated by Terri Matz was the story of Harold Bicknell Glidden, a veteran of World War I.  William C. Wilson, a former Cedar Springs resident and veteran of the Koren War was narrated by Tanya Eldred. Also, Michael E. Magoon, a veteran of the Vietnam War narrated by Lenn Perry. And finally, Leland Dewey, a veteran of World War II narrated by Riley Matz, see their bios on page 13. 

Attendees gathered at the Cedar Springs Museum for refreshments and socializing after the Cemetery Walk.

Afterwords, attendees gathered at the Cedar Springs Museum for refreshments and socializing.

To discover more about our brave veterans, contact the CS Historical Society (616) 696-3335.

*information supplied to us by the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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