United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor veterans Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Robert F. Hoke Chapter No. 78 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will honor veterans of four war periods in the Stanback Auditorium of Rowan Public Library.
These men served overseas and in the United States during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq and will receive unique medals issued by the UDC.
The medals honor Confederate veterans and their descendants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Chapter President Sue Curtis, with assistance by Recorder of Crosses Barbara Upright, will present the medals. Vietnam Cross of Military Service recipient Ed Curtis will introduce guest speaker Ralph Ganis of Eden, who was nominated by the Hoke Chapter for the first Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal and who received this medal in 1996 at the UDC General Convention in Richmond, Va.
Third Vice President Trudy Hall will give the invocation and benediction. Flags from each branch of service will be among those displayed for the service, which is open to the public.
The medals to be awarded date back to 1898 when the UDC resolved that every Confederate veteran should receive a medal now known as “The Southern Cross of Honor.” These were to be worn only by Confederate veterans, and many were buried with their crosses.
The first cross bestowed was in 1900 and, by 1913, there were 78,761 awarded. The last was in 1959, posthumously to Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes.
Later, the UDC decided to honor lineal descendants of Confederate veterans who also served during war periods. These new medals, known as Crosses of Military Service, were awarded in 1922 to World War I veterans and additional medals were designed for later wars.
Each Cross of Military Service has the color of ribbon used by the military during a particular war period, and each bronze medal is suspended from a ribbon by the entwined monogram “UDC.” A National Defense Medal was approved in 1991, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal was approved in 1995.
Medals to be awarded Saturday include:
– A World War II Cross of Military Service and a Vietnam Conflict National Defense Medal for U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force veteran Warren R. Cozby of Texas will be accepted on his behalf by his daughter Mary Dill, a past director of the Salisbury National Cemetery.
Cozby’s plane was shot down on his fifth mission over enemy territory during World War II, and he spent 15 months as a prisoner of war in Germany.
– Warren R. Cozby Jr., of Texas, will also receive a Vietnam Conflict National Defense Medal for his work stateside. Abraham Warren, of Fannin County 14th Brigade, Texas State Troops, was the Confederate ancestor of the Cozbys.
– Jack D. Walters of Rockwell, who served in the U. S. Army, will receive a World War II Cross of Military Service for his duty in the United States and the Philippines. Two brothers of Walters have received similar recognition by the UDC. Their ancestor was David Parks Walters of Cabarrus County, who served in Company C, 33rd Regiment, N.C. Troops until his right leg had to be amputated, which caused his retirement to the Invalid Corps.
– U.S. Army veteran Carlee Artz, of Faith, who received a Bronze Service Star, will be awarded the Korean War Cross of Military Service.
Artz’s Confederate ancestor was William Lefler, who enlisted in June 1861 in Rowan County and served in Company K, 5th NCT, until he was paroled in May 1865. Artz’s daughter, Eva Millsaps, will sing during the Bestowal Service.
– A Vietnam Conflict National Defense Medal will be awarded to Kenneth R. Bratton of Concord for his service in the U. S. Air Force during the late 1960s. His ancestor, Absolum W. Bratton, served in Company C., 42nd Regiment, NCT, and died as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Md., in May 1865.
– Robert H. Stirewalt will be awarded posthumously a Korean War Cross of Military Service. His son, Robert D. Stirewalt, will accept on his behalf.
Stirewalt served in the U. S. Army and had duty in the United States, Japan and Korea and received the Bronze Star. His ancestor, Jacob Stirewalt, enlisted in Rowan County in 1861 and served in Company K, 5th Regiment, NCT, until 1863 when discharged due to illness.
– U.S. Army veteran Robert D. Stirewalt of China Grove will receive the Global War on Terror Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal for his service in Iraq. Stirewalt is the recipient of several Army medals in addition to the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
His Confederate ancestor, John E. Carter of Rowan County served in Company D, 10th Regiment, NCT (1st Regiment, N.C. Artillery), and was retired to the Invalid Corps in 1864 after amputation of his right arm.