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Service, sacrifice commemorated with monument

The courage and sacrifice of “the Greatest Generation” is legendary. But the chance to actually talk with and learn from those who served in World War II, and even in Korea and Vietnam, is quickly passing from our grasp.

So it is increasingly important to put tangible reminders in place to help us remember those who offered their service in the preservation of all of our freedoms in these and other wars and conflicts around the world.

On Wednesday, a group of veterans, family members and other area citizens did exactly that as they dedicated a monument in honor of 93 National Guardsmen activated for Korea more than 60 years ago. These members of the 31st Infantry “Dixie” Division’s Company D left Monticello on Jan. 16, 1951, to fight halfway around the world.

Nine soldiers from Company D were on hand for Wednesday’s ceremony held at the Monticello Armory. One of those nine, Charles Bufkin, proposed the idea of the monument and was the primary force behind bringing it to completion.

“You can’t let history like that go,” Bufkin said at Wednesday’s dedication, adding that most of his fellow company members have already passed away.

Bufkin and the others who were instrumental in raising the funds needed for the monument and seeing it to completion are to be commended for putting this touchstone in place in tribute to these brave soldiers.

To the members of the Dixie Division and all service men and women, we offer our inadequate, but heartfelt, thank you.