“For those who fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.”
Published 8:12 pm Friday, May 26, 2023
Memorial Day honors the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country.
Memorial Day reminds us of the high price of freedom and the debt of gratitude we owe to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a day to reflect on their sacrifices and to honor their memory with gratitude.
For Bob McLendon, owner of Conecuh River Depot Military Museum every day is a day to remember those who have fought and died protecting freedom.
His collection of United States war memorabilia is extensive. For McLendon, so much of it is personal, very personal.
His dad, Captain Robert G. McLendon served under Gen. George S. Patton, Commander, Third Army European Theater, World War II. The position the senior McLendon held allowed him to send home war memorabilia.
Perhaps, a filled wood ammo box that his dad sent home that was the beginning of Bob McLendon’s interest in memorabilia of America’s wars.
However, his interest is not just wartime memorabilia, it is also in the wars that have been fought on home soil
As a living history re-enactor, McLendon is dedicated to making certain that the roles he plays are correct in every way, whether it’s as a member of the militia at the Battle of Hobdy’s Bridge or transporting cannons from horseback during the Battle of Shiloh.
“It’s important that we learn about the battles and wars that have earned and secured our freedoms, McLendon said. “it’s also important to preserve artifacts from those wars.”
Conecuh River Depot is McLendon’s contribution to that endeavor.
Just inside the military museum a Fallen Comrade Table that is meant to remind viewers of fallen or missing United States military members and a photographic plate of a nameless Marine.
“I don’t know who the Marine is or anything about the plate,” McLendon said. “Maybe, someday ….”
And, there’s an American Flag with 48 Stars and the backpack of paratrooper who took place in Operation Varsity, the allies’ airborne assault over the Rhine at West Germany.
Pfc Robert R Lambert, a member of the 513th Parachute infantry regiment, took part in Operation Varsity the allies’ airborne assault over the Rhine at West Germany. The bag he carried is on display. Operation Varsity was the last airborne drop in the European Theater in World War II.
There is a jacket worn by S/SSgt C.D Gilbert at the Nuremburg, Germany Nazi war crime trials.
There are photographs of the five McLendon brothers in WWII, the sons of Jessie Martin McLendon born in Henderson.
Asa, a member of the Coast Guard helped rescue soldiers and sailors from the icy water off the coast of Greenland after the USS Dorchester troop ship, with more than 900 men on bard was sunk by a German U boat, February 3, 2943.
McLendon said four chaplains, two Protestant, one Catholic and One Jewish, were passing out life jackets. When life jackets gave out, they took off their own life jackets and gave them to waiting soldiers before going down with the ship.
The plane of Melbourne McLendon US Army Air Corps, European Theater was shot down over Germany and was captured and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.
James McLenndon, US Navy pilot, was shot down and lost in the Pacific in 1942.
There is a photograph of an Army Chaplin holding a church service in a
fruit orchard somewhere in Europe during World War II while his assistant plays the pump organ.
Every space in the of Conecuh River Depot: Military Museum is filled with military memorabilia and each has a story to share.
Admission to the museum is free.