Independence Day will be celebrated Saturday, and a special program will take place at Turner’s Pond on Lewisville Road before the fireworks show at dark.
At 5 p.m., the Flag Ceremony will take place at Eagle Park on Turner’s Pond. Following the Flag Ceremony, a special veterans program will be at 5:30 p.m. During this ceremony, the first veteran will be honored.
The Wall of Honor is a granite monument that is at the newly named Eagle Park at Turner’s Pond. The American Legion has taken over the flag ceremonies at the park with the exception of the flags representing each branch of military service.
Rod Gann, a Vietnam veteran and member of the American Legion Color Guard, says all the flags will be changed out during a ceremony every year on the Fourth of July.
The Louisiana National Guard has taken over the upkeep of Eagle Park, he says.
“The American Legion decided it would (lead) the ceremonies that take place,” he said. “We got the National Guard involved and they were so eager to help out, they volunteered to take care of the maintenance of it henceforth.”
Bro. Bill Ichter is this year’s nomination and will have the distinguished honor of having his name be the first placed on the Wall of Honor.
“Bro. Bill,” as he is affectionately known, is a World War II veteran – a corporal in the U.S. Army – who fought in Europe during the liberation of France. He is a Bronze Star recipient and was a missionary to Brazil for many years.
“I got to know him after he came back to Minden,” Gann said. “He married, moved down and settled here, and is associated with First Baptist Church as one of their associate pastors. He’s retired now, but he’s called upon to do many special services.
He’s approaching 90, and since we dedicated Memorial Day to him, we thought he should be the first man we honored on the Wall of Honor.”
He was a recipient of the French Legion of Honor medal this past Memorial Day, one of the highest decorations bestowed in France. The French Legion of Honor is an order of distinction first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in May of 1802. The medal is given to honor veterans of both World Wars who risked their lives and some giving their lives in the liberation of France.
With music as one of his greatest loves, at one time, he conducted a choir of more than 12,000 voices.
Ichter was the long-time chaplain at Minden Medical Center, and continues to be a chaplain for the Louisiana State Police.
The American Legion is accepting nominations for the wall and will be choosing next year’s nomination. To submit a nomination, contact Ichter, Jerry Madden or Rod Gann.
In downtown Sarepta, a Fourth of July fireworks show will take place at dark. There will be a free waterslide and bouncy house for the kids. Free hot dogs and cold drinks will be served for all.
Both of these events are free to the public.