May 13 2021
Corsicana Daily Sun
Imagine how amazing it would have been if your great grandparents could have met Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, who lived to be 95. Think how great it would have been if your grandparents could have met Aaron Daggett, the last general of the Civil War, who died at the age of 100 in 1938. This weekend you and your family can meet the final living Medal of Honor holder from World War II, U.S. Marine Hershel "Woody" Williams, by simply coming to the Navarro County Courthouse at noon Saturday May 15, 2021.
Mr. Williams is dedicating the magnificent 15,000 pound Navarro County Gold Star Family monument. A Gold Star family is one who has lost a family member in combat or military services. Navarro County’s long and unique military history was a determining factor in selecting Corsicana as the place for this sought after monument.
Hershel Williams has dedicated his post military life to creating one of these monuments in all 50 states. And, in large and patriotic states like Texas, the goal is to have more than one. Retired Marine Corporal Williams of West Virginia said, "Navarro County has a rich and unique military history going back to the Texas Revolution." "This beautiful and unique black granite monument sends a message to the families of those who have sacrificed a loved one in military service for us, and our freedom.”
The Navarro County Foundation and the Bill McNutt Family Fund, in conjunction with the Texas Veterans Parade, have worked for three years to make this possible. The Central Texas public is encouraged to attend to help us welcome this brave and unique American. He is the youngest of 11 children from a Dairy Farm in West Virginia.
Mr. Bill McNutt, a 1973 Corsicana High School graduate, originated the idea to bring the monument to Navarro County and raised the funds. He said, “The monument will be a constant reminder to our youth that freedom is not free, and will offer a place for families to gather who have placed so costly a sacrifice on the altar of our freedom.”
In 2020 The Texas Veterans Parade made Hershel Williams the recipient of its highest award, the Navarro-Garcia Patriot Award. It is named for Jose Antonio Navarro, the namesake of Navarro County, Texas and Candelario "Spider" Garcia, Jr. , a holder of the Medal of Honor from the Vietnam War.
County Judge H.M. Davenport remarked: "Navarro County is a patriotic community with strong support for veterans. We will be the only courthouse grounds in the nation with one of these.”
The Texas Veterans Parade is held annually in Corsicana on Armed Forces Day, each May. Its mission statement is as follows: “To honor Texas Veterans of all wars and conflicts. To teach children / students about the sacrifices of Texas Veterans, Freedom, and Liberty.”
Immediately following the ceremony, Woody will plant a tree in front of the Corsicana YMCA to commemorate the 33 Navarro County servicemen who lost their lives in World War II.