Despite the threat of rain, two well-known veterans were honored Thursday during a ceremony at Eagle Park on Turner’s Pond.
The late George Turner and Corporal Bill Ichter were honored with plaques on the Wall of Honor during a dedication ceremony in honor of Veterans Day.
“He was a World War II veteran (of the U.S. Army),” Dr. Richard Campbell, a Vietnam veteran, said of Turner. “He was involved in the Battle of the Bulge in Normandy. He went over there as a staff sergeant, and he was what we would call in later times an artillery forward observer. Those of you who have been in combat know that the artillery is the one you call on, and in two separate instances, George was called on and responded appropriately.”
Campbell says Turner was awarded a Bronze Star on the first mission and another Bronze Star and French Croix de Guerre, or Cross of War, an award given to military allies of France on the second mission. He was promoted to a second lieutenant.
Tommy Turner, George Turner’s son, says his father never talked about his service to the military but was honored he was recognized.
“I feel great about him being honored today,” Tommy Turner said. “He would feel even better. He would have enjoyed this. He would have felt that it was not deserved, but he loved people, and he would have loved to be here and see all his friends here that showed up today.”
Bill Ichter, a World War II veteran, was an infantryman in the U.S. Army. Ichter was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, which is only given to infantrymen who served in combat, Campbell said.
“In the Army uniform, it is worn above all other awards,” Campbell said. “Another one he has for his service in Europe, he was also awarded the Bronze Star.”
Ichter is also a recipient of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, another French military award, the highest the nation bestows.
The retired Minden Medical Center chaplain spent 35 years of his life as a missionary to Brazil. Campbell says Ichter once led an 11,000-member choir during a Billy Graham Crusade. He was asked to carry the American colors, Campbell said.
Ichter says the ceremony was wonderful.
“I thought it was a wonderful day honoring men and women that have given their service to their country, and some of them have given their lives,” he said. “I thought the turnout on this rainy day was indicative of the spirit of patriotism in our community.”
When asked how he felt about being honored, he says he’s embarrassed yet humbled.
“I am very proud too,” he said. “I am especially very proud to have my plaque alongside a real hero. That’s George Turner, who was a great man.”
Turner passed away in May 2013.
The Minden High School Junior ROTC changed the United States flag as well as those representing the various branches of military.
They were also instrumental in changing the United States flag during a morning ceremony across from Minden City Hall as their way to honor veterans who have served and are serving their country.
Colonel Bob Peden, ROTC commander, says this was their way to honor veterans on such a special day.
“This is our way of honoring our veterans in Minden and Webster Parish who have served and are still serving our country,” Peden said.