A handful of veterans and Texoma residents gathered Monday morning at Riverside Cemetery — to honor and remember the sacrifice of Lieutenant Pat Carrigan.
“Our post is named after Pat Carrigan, who as you probably heard, died saving other lives in France in 1918,” Vietnam veteran, Dan Tompkins, said. “His body was brought back here in 1921. We have a flag at our Legion Post that accompanied his body back to America.”
He was the first Wichita Falls native killed in World War One and is the namesake of American Legion Post 120.
“That just uh…. sends chills up and down your spine to remember the sacrifices that he and his family made and all the other veterans,” Korean War veteran, Hank Roten, said.
However, people gathered to not only to remember his sacrifice, but the sacrifice of all the other servicemen and women who died while protecting America’s freedom.
“One of the first things that comes to my mind is the 50,000 veterans that died in Vietnam and the wall — but of course it’s much bigger than that,” Tompkins said. “As our commander said in his speech earlier, close to a million Americans have died in all of America’s wars.”
Vietnam veteran, Dan Tompkins, and Korean War veteran, Hank Roten, said they are worried for the future and losing sight of the past.
“I think a lot of veterans these days are concerned that many in America might not have the same spirit, the same will that we have been through,” Tompkins said. “And our country is in jeopardy. We need the back bone to stand up and protect not only ourselves, but in some instances, others in this world as well.”
And that is why attending this morning’s service — hosted by American Legion Pat Carrigan Post 120 — was so important to them.
“It was fantastic,” Roten said. “I appreciate everything that the camaraderie that come out here…. the speeches that they gave, and the rededication of our service to honor these people that went on. That meant a whole lot to me.”
For more information about the American Legion Post 120, call 940-696-2177.