Ben Tomlinson was presented a Cross of Military Service for service in Afghanistan.Tomlinson served in the Marine Corp in that country.
National Defense Medals were presented to Reiber Dixon Heath of Anniston, Clyde Larry Howard, George Alton Hardy Jr., Billy Ray La Taste and Randy Alan Maddox of Oxford and Franklin D. Leatherwood Jr., of Boaz.
“I was just so pleased and honored that we were able to do this for Ben and the other six men,” said Sonja Randle, registrar.
To qualify, a former member of the military must be a descendant of a Confederate soldier.
“The purpose of the UDC was to help Confederate soldiers when they came back from the war,” said Randle. “We also bestowed Southern Crosses upon these men. This is an outgrowth of that program, and this many years later, we’re still doing it.”
Randle said the two UDC members instrumental in organizing the program were vice president and recorder of military service awards Joyce La Taste and president Helen Molan Johnson.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said La Taste. “I wish we could give every veteran an award. I think they deserve it because they give everything for us. They’re willing to give their lives if necessary. They have to have an honorable discharge, and their Confederate ancestor has to have had an honorable military discharge.”
Tomlinson’s great-great-great grandfather, James R. Warren, whose wife was Milley Jane Edwards, was in Company E of the 22nd Regiment, Alabama Infantry. He was a private and was discharged in December 1861 because of rheumatism, which he’d had for the past 10 years.
“The exposure to camp life rendered him unable to perform and caused him to have frequent attacks,” is what his papers said.
He enlisted in the Confederacy Army on Oct 6, 1861 in Calhoun County.
Tomlinson said it was a nice gesture for the UDC to recognize him, and he appreciates it.
His mother echoed his appreciation.
“I appreciated them showing their support for Ben by giving him the Cross of Military Service and recognizing his involvement in the War on Terror,” she said. “I would also like to thank the staff of the Jacksonville Public Library and the girls from the sorority who gave a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.”
Eli Henderson welcomed everyone. Alice Martin sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Dr. Derek Staples gave the benediction, and the Jacksonville State University ROTC was in charge of retiring the colors.
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