Robert Pool never served in the military.
But as a young man he came of age during WWII, Korea and Vietnam and always admired those who went to war, men like Red Latham, a cousin who fought in the invasion of Normandy, Mac Dees, Jr., who was killed in Italy during World War II, and his wife Billie’s uncle, Gip Earnhardt, who was blinded and disabled by a landmine in that conflict.
As a football coach at Hernando High School in the 1960s, many of the boys he coached went to fight in the Vietnamese jungle. His eyes are cloudy as he thinks of them even today.
He recently counted more than 40 graves of veterans buried in cemeteries in and around the Eudora region.
âThere are a lot of well-buried men here who have served,â Pool said.
Pool was disappointed that there was no Veterans Memorial in Eudora to honor their memory, so three years ago he decided to do something about it.
He approached Simon and Lowry Dean, two brothers who both served in the military, about an idea he had to build a veterans monument near the three flag poles outside the Outfitters store in Eudora. Together they launched a fundraising campaign to make this a reality.
It was not easy. In fact, he almost gave up, thinking it would never be built. But this week, Pool’s dream came true.
Pool reunited with Simon and Lowry, and other veterans, guests and volunteers who allowed to admire the finished work.
The brick wall was recently repainted with two additional flag poles added, and the words âsome gave their allâ and âall gaveâ on opposite sides in plastic capital letters, accompanied by silhouettes of a kneeling soldier. and paying homage to his fallen comrades. .
âMy eyes popped when I saw it finished,â Pool said. “If you could have seen it before. The shrubs were dead and there was junk everywhere.
Pool thanked the volunteers who helped make this a reality
âMy role here is to thank you for what you put into it,â Pool said. âOtherwise, we wouldn’t have that. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. And I would like to thank the veterans and remember those who left and who served.
Pool reserved special praise for Teresa Brown, who donated her services to paint the wall. Brown’s son currently serves in the Marine Corps and his father was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Her husband’s uncle was Tom Hudner, Jr., a naval aviator who won the Congressional Medal of Honor after intentionally landing his plane in an attempt to save the life of his wingman, Jesse Brown, in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. .
âWithout Teresa’s skills, we wouldn’t have anything,â Pool said. “She painted the wall and knew where to find the letters and did a hell of a job.”
Simon Dean, a U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal from Eudora who received Purple Heart injuries from shrapnel from a trap in Vietnam, said he was proud to have a memorial for veterans in Eudora.
âIt turned out better than I expected,â said Simon. âI thank those who did the painting and the cutouts. I did not do much. I had a crawler excavator and a front loader and I pulled the bushes and things like that. But I haven’t done anything that requires talent. Lots of people attended and we are proud to have it. “
Lowry Dean said they owe Pool a debt of gratitude for leading the effort and sticking to it until the end.
âHe stayed with us and got some people interested enough to do something with it,â Lowry said. âThank you Lord, we have people who will stand up for America and Robert Pool. He started setting us on fire and we had a great turnout.
He also acknowledged DeSoto County District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell, who obtained use of the property on the county’s right-of-way.
âShe sent surveyors to see it,â Lowry said. âSo I want to thank everyone who participated. We have received many favorable comments on this matter. I am proud to be an American. I am proud to live in Eudora, Mississippi. And proud to have given to my family and others who are my friends who have helped make America great and keep it great. “
Caldwell, who came from a military family, said she was grateful to Pool and the volunteers who helped build the memorial, as well as the military men and women who served and continue to serve.
âIn this world, we have people who talk and we have people who do,â Caldwell said. âThese people here are doers. It was a dream of Mr. Robert Pool. And he did it to honor our veterans and our nation, and I will be eternally grateful and to all of you who support our military. That is why we have the freedom to be here today.
World War II veteran Olin Pickens, who spent more than two years as a prisoner of war and will be celebrating his 100th birthday in December, said he was impressed with the memorial.
âIt’s really good,â Pickens said. “I never thought I would live until the end of the war, let alone my 100th birthday. It is a beautiful tribute to all of us.”