National Infantry Museum honors late U.S. senator and veterans with paver dedication

Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 8:25 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2023 at 8:30 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The National Infantry Museum held two ceremonies on Veterans Day to recognize those who served in the United States Armed Forces.

The first ceremony was open to the public, and began at 11 a.m.

During the ceremony, veterans saluted during the playing of “TAPS” and the U.S. national anthem.

Colonel Ryan Willie, the chief of staff for the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Moore, was the guest speaker and gave the history of Veteran’s Day and encouraged veterans to share their story.

“Tell your story of service. Tell what service meant to you. So, that we can inspire this next generation of young Americans to answer the call to service and preserve our legacy,” said Willie during his speech.

The ceremony also included the dedication of the new pavers placed outside of the museum.

“So, all our pavers outside on Heritage Walk if they’ve been placed since Memorial Day on Veteran’s Day we take the time to dedicate each and every one of those pavers to the people who purchased them,” Janet Daly, the director of communications at NIM said.

Justin Horsley, a retired United States Army infantryman, had a paver placed and traveled with his family from Charleston, South Carolina for the dedication.

He says having a paver makes him emotional.

“Like I’m holding back tears right now. Like, it just brings back old memories and basically, it’s even though I’m being honored, I can tell you stories about ten other people that should be honored too,” said Horsley.

His dad who also served in the U.S. Army said he’s proud of his son, and his son served him well.

“He actually served in war, I did not. On the day that I retired from the army he actually enlisted on that very day,” James E. White Jr.

At noon a private and special paver dedication was held for Late Senator Bob Dole for his service in the U.S. Army and in World War II.

Dole visited the National Infantry Museum in 2017.

President of NIM, retired Brigadier General Pete Jones, got emotional recalling Dole’s visit during the dedication ceremony.

“The graduates were instructed that as they got off the stage not to reach out and shake Senator Dole’s hand. Just take your diploma acknowledge him as he sat his wheelchair at the end of the stairs.” Jones said. “He reached out...excuse me. Every soldier, every graduate, he shook his hand.”

Congressman Sanford Bishop spoke about the Senator’s service as a soldier and politician.

“He received permanent disabilities because he was wounded in action during World War II,” Bishop said. “He was not expected to live, but he fought through it and although he had permanent disabilities, he was determined to not give up.”

Dole’s paver is located under the Kansas flag on Heritage Walk outside the museum.