|Three names are added to Veterans Memorial Wall|
|COLLEEN MENSCHING, Staff Writer|
Redlands Daily Facts
|Article Launched:05/25/2007 11:23:51 AM PDT|
|REDLANDS - Thursday night saw the somber addition of three local names to the Veterans Memorial Wall at Jennie Davis Park. |
The wall lists all the city's war fatalities since the Spanish-American War. The names of Vernon R. Widner, Hannah Leah McKinney and William "Tony" Farrar, Jr., are newly etched into an ivory-colored tile commemorating their deaths in service in Iraq.
"On Veterans Day I made a promise that we would have these up by Memorial Day," Councilman Mick Gallagher said.
"What this is is a fulfilled commitment," said Sam Irwin, commander of American Legion Post 106.
Widner, 34, with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, was the first Redlands soldier killed in the war in Iraq. In late 2005, he was in a military Humvee targeted by someone driving a civilian vehicle. The Humvee flipped when hit. Wider and a fellow soldier were killed.
Married and the father of two boys, Widner was the son of Emmanuel and Sandra Widner of Redlands.
About year later, Army Pfc. McKinney was on her way home from a party at Fort Taji. She fell from the truck and was crushed under its wheels. The driver was suspected of being under the influence at the time of the accident.
McKinney, 20, had a husband and a son. Todd was just 2 years old at the time of his mother's death.
And two weeks ago today, Farrar, a member of the military police, was killed when an improvised explosive device blew up near his vehicle.
His memorial service was held this afternoon at First Missionary Baptist Church in Redlands.
Irwin said the organizations that maintain the wall, including his post and Post 650, are considering making space for a fourth Redlands name. Navy yeoman Melissa Rose Barnes, 27, died on Sept. 11, 2001, when a plane struck the Pentagon building.
"We've got to find an appropriate place to put her," said Irwin, noting that the country wasn't actually at war when Barnes was killed.
Ennis Dixon, commander of Post 650 and Ron "Gator" Riley, who will succeed her as commander in June, were on hand Thursday and will join Gallagher, Irwin and others Monday at a Memorial Day Ceremony at Hillside Memorial Park. Not all post members will be able to join them.
"We have some ` that are still serving," Dixon said.
The memorial service at Hillside begins at 11 a.m. and is open to the public. Post 650 will host a reception for al attendees that afternoon. The post is at 1132 N. Church St. For more information call Post 650 at 792-6783.
E-mail staff Writer Colleen Mensching at email@example.com