Carve out some time to remember those who've served
May 22, 2019
I have a slender bound volume that — judging by quality — is probably a copy of a copy of a copy.
The silver letters on the red tape that covers the spine read, “SERVICE MANUAL Roosevelt County, NM 1941-45.” It may be as complete a listing as exists of the men and women from our county who served in the armed forces during World War II.
To me, it is priceless.
Each page honors 10 locals who went to war in the 1940s. There is a grainy 11.2 x 2-inch photo for each person, along with a brief write-up that typically includes names of parents, date of induction, and locations of training and service.
Those short paragraphs all conclude one of two ways: a discharge date or — all too often — a date and place of death.
If you’ve lived here as long as I have, you can’t thumb through this book without seeing a familiar face or family surname on almost every page.
It’s a timely reminder that the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is so much more than “one of the biggest sales events of the year!”
The book opens with an alphabetical listing of individuals from Roosevelt County who were killed in World War II.
The first is John Howard Andes, who “spent two months in the European Theater of Operation; fought with the Ninth Army in battle of Belgian Bulge; was killed in action on Rotgeu, Germany on Dec. 15, 1944,” according to the manual.
The last two, alphabetically, were brothers: Durwood Haynes Wright and Warren Miller Wright.
Roosevelt County’s own Wright brothers were the sons of Mrs. R.D. Wright, according to the book.
Durwood Haynes Wright signed up with the United States Army on March 18, 1941, and became — like so many other New Mexicans and 54 Roosevelt County boys — a participant in the Bataan Death March later that year. He was held as a prisoner of the Japanese for months before succumbing to malaria on June 21, 1942, at Camp Cabanatuan, a prison camp in the Philippines.
Warren Miller Wright enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on New Year’s Day of 1942, sailed to the Pacific on July 23, 1944, and fought at Iwo Jima. He was a captain when he was killed in action there on Feb. 24, 1945. He received an “air medal with citation posthumously,” according to the book.
This weekend — at the very least — drive by a cemetery and notice the American flags that mark the graves of those who served.
Better yet, carve out some time to attend a program or ceremony and spend a few moments reflecting on the folks who served not only in World War II but in every other war and conflict, as well as those on active duty in all branches of the military at posts here and around the world today.
In Portales, we’re invited to attend a wreath laying at the Roosevelt County Memorial on the courthouse square at 9 a.m., catch the annual American Legion Post 31 remembrance at the Portales Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., then “Break Bread With Veterans” at noon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9515, building, 316 S. Main.
Curry County’s Memorial Day ceremony hosted by VFW Post 3280 is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Lawn Haven Cemetery, 1601 E. Llano Estacado.
If you know of other Memorial Day events that honor our local veterans, please contact me, call the newsroom at 575-763-6991 or e-mail:
We’d love to have a comprehensive listing in Sunday’s event calendar.
Betty Williamson tips her grateful hat to all who have served — and are serving — in the armed forces. Reach her at: