21 Gun Salute

May 30, 2022

Today – a day of remembrance to those who have fallen for freedom and democracy. Martinsville celebrates these people by creating a memorial park. 

Veterans have helped Martinsville in numerous ways. One of those valiant people is Paul C. Stephenson. 

Stephenson was a sergeant and according to Dale Brown and the related USS Franklin: Honor Restored YouTube video, “He was a Tech Sergeant in the USMCR and a member of VMF-214 (Colonel Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington).” 

Sgt. Paul C. Stephenson’s Brick (Cameron Gee)

People like Sgt. Paul C. Stephenson are honored in places such as a park at the corner of Washington and Jefferson Streets where the Morgan County Veterans Memorial is located.  In this park, his memory is etched on one of the hundreds of bricks that surround the Memorial. 

He also helped in the war. According to Dale Brown and the related USS Franklin: Honor Restored YouTube video, “The USS Franklin was to launch sweeps and strikes on the Japanese homeland. The Franklin was about halfway through launching a second wave of strike aircraft when a single Japanese bomber pierced the cloud cover and dropped two semi-armor-piercing bombs before the ship’s anti-aircraft gunners could fire.”

Unfortunately, Stephenson fell and, like countless others, is memorialized in this park. He fell with one of the most famous ships in American War history. Without people like this, the freedom of this very republic would not be able to exist. 

Stephenson was one of the people on the USS Franklin when it was attacked. According to Dale Brown and the related USS Franklin: Honor Restored YouTube video, “Charles Stephenson was one of the 32 members of the Black Sheep Squadron, and one of the 772 deaths aboard the USS Franklin on 19 March 1945.”

Overall, the horrendous losses that happen for the freedom of this country is unimaginable. So today, visit this park in downtown Martinsville and give your respect to those who have fallen for us. 

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