Published: 11 January 2024
By Colin Vedros
via the KALB 5 television station (LA) web site
VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB) – The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and Fort Johnson revealed a memorial for Sergeant William Henry Johnson on Thursday, Jan. 11.
“As we unveil this monument in honor of Sergeant William Henry Johnson, we pay tribute to a man whose actions transcend time and whose spirit of bravery will forever be etched in our hearts,” said Brigadier General David Gardner, commanding general for JRTC and Ft. Johnson.
The memorial sits at the front of Ft. Johnson’s Warrior Memorial Park. During World War I, Sgt. Johnson and fellow soldier Pvt. Needham Roberts retaliated against a German raid, resulting in casualties and increased vigilance in the 369th infantry regiment, thanks to their bravery and resistance. This new memorial honors Sgt. Johnson’s legacy of embodying the highest ideals of patriotism, selflessness and warrior spirit.
“It says a lot about who we are as a people of the United States of America,” said State Rep. Chuck Owens (R, District 30). “At that time in American history, things were not good for Black citizens. And, he still went and still fought with that level of courage. It’s just unbelievable. It’s an honor to be here.”
“Personally, for me, I think it’s important because it allows people to understand what he’s done, and the struggles and hardship he had to go through, and having a base named after you is a big deal, even if you have passed or are not currently here, so I think it means a lot,” said Darius Smith, the squad leader for the 687th Engineer Construction Company for Ft. Johnson.
His team designed and created the memorial in honor of Sgt. Johnson. It is one way Smith and his crew honor him.
“Being able to design and make this memorial meant a lot to me,” Smith said. “Making sure this project got done right made me feel happy, and not just happy, but prideful of the work we have done.”
Read the entire article and watch video of the ceremony on the KALB web site here:
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