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Honoring Lamar Dunn

Features Editor

The sun broke through the clouds Tuesday morning just as Lamar Dunn’s name was being added to the World War I memorial plaque at Bicentennial Park.

It was almost as if Dunn knew.

His son, Charlie, said there was nothing that would have made his father prouder than to know that he was being recognized for his service to his country.

Although PFC Lamar Dunn never got to leave the home front during World War I, he took great pride in having served his country.

Dunn was a true patriot.

His son, Charlie, grew up listening to his dad talk about – the privilege – of serving one’s country. The elder Dunn could have talked about a man’s duty to country or his obligation, and, odds are that he believed a man did have a duty to serve, but more than that he considered service to his country an honor and a privilege.

That’s the kind of man Lamar Dunn was. That’s the kind of man is son is.

Charlie Dunn, the leader of a group of retired military men called Charlie’s Angels, spoke briefly at the ceremony honoring the service of his father.

"Paw Paw was an humble man," Dunn said. "He didn’t have a lot, but he did the best he could with what he had. He taught me to work and he taught me to always do things to the best of my ability. He taught me to always pay what I owe and, when I was just a little boy, he taught me to be a soldier."

Dunn wanted to follow in his father’s footstep. He wanted to be a soldier, "just like him."

Dunn was too young to enlist in the Army during World War II and, he was too young to enlist during the Korean War.

"I wasn’t old enough to go to Korea, but I was big enough, so I fooled my way in," Dunn said, laughing.

At age 17, when most boys were trying to decided who to ask to the senior prom, Dunn was fighting in the conflict in Korea. During the next decade, he was fighting in another war in Southeast Asia – in Vietnam.

As Dunn and his son, Charles, added Lamar Dunn’s name to the plaque of deceased World War I veterans, Dunn acknowledged the influence his father had on him.

"I’m proud to have served my country," Dunn said. "It’s not perfect, but I’ve been to many countries and ours is the best one, by far, that I have seen. I have three sons and I’ve encouraged each one of them to go into the military. It teaches young people discipline, and that’s good, but most of all, it’s an opportunity to serve your country."

Dunn expressed his appreciation to American Legion Post No. 70 and the Post Auxiliary for providing this memorial opportunity to him and his family and to all of those for whom the flags fly on patriotic holidays.

Rick Stetson, commander of Post 70 and Jean Gibson and Dorothy Jinright, members of the Auxiliary, participated in the ceremony that honored Dunn and William James Huggins, both deceased World War I veterans.

Post 70 Auxiliary, in conjunction with Post 70, sponsors the flag and memorial plaque projects at Bicentennial Park.

The name of any deceased veteran of a foreign war may be placed on a plaque for $60 dollars and a flag will be flown in their memory for $25.

For more information about the plaques or memorial flags, call Jean Gibson at 566-2306 or Faye Pittman at 566-8849.