Still on the mind, 60 years later

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

Members of Brundidge VWF Post 7055 assisted in the location of the gravesite of a victim of the Korean War and participated in a memorial event honoring the war hero.

The story began with a letter from a stranger.

“A few months ago, I received a letter addressed to the Brundidge VFW from Mr. Clinton Whitrock of Decatur, Illinois,” said Freddie Turner, Post quartermaster. “He said that he met a soldier from Pike County, Lamar Langston, at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1950. They were in the same unit in Korea and Mr. Langston died there on March 30, 1951.”

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Turner began a search for Langston’s family and found his nephew, Wyman Langston.

“I contacted Mr. Whitrock with the information but I didn’t know what he planned to do with it,” Turner said. “He told me that he would be coming thorough Alabama in the spring and would like to visit the gravesite of Lamar Langston.”

On April 7, Whitrock met with members of Brundidge VFW Post 7055. Together, they visited Bethel Cemetery near Banks. Wyman Langston met them at the burial site of his uncle.

Turner said Whitrock and Langston served together in the finance unit in Korea.

“Mr. Whitrock had many fond memories of Lamar Langston,” Turner said. “They had become very good friends. One morning, Mr. Langston went on sick call. Two or three days later, someone told the unit that he had died. No one knew how.

“But a few days later a team of doctors came in and inoculated everyone for smallpox. Mr. Langston had died of smallpox. He was the only person in the finance unit to lose their life during the three years the unit was in Korea.”

Turner said he and the other members of VFW Post 70 decided that Lamar Langston had to be a great gentleman and friend to his follow soldiers.

“For a person to leave an impression on someone for 60 years is truly amazing,” Turner said.

“It was an honor for us to assist Mr. Whitrock in locating Mr. Langston’s final resting place and be a part of the memorial event. Needless to say, it was an emotional moment.”