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A huge garrison flag spanning the entrance to the downtown at Second and Jackson streets will both welcome home and say goodbye Saturday to two fallen Marines.
The remains of Manley Winkley and his nephew Lyman Winkley, who fought in some of the most ferocious battles of World War II and the Korean conflict, will be escorted through the city at 11:30 a.m. by a formation of vehicles.
That formation will include an estimated 400 motorcycles ridden by members of the Indiana Patriot Guard and Rolling Thunder, groups dedicated to honoring fallen veterans.
The burial ceremonies will be conducted in the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Madison.
The flag, which will be mounted from the extended arms of ladder trucks belonging to the Columbus and Columbus Township fire departments, is just one of the final salutes that will be given the men on their journey from a Nashville funeral home to the cemetery in Madison.
The remains of Manley Winkley, who was killed during the invasion of the atoll of Tarawa in 1943, were discovered only last year and returned to family members in central Indiana.
Lyman Winkley, who had lied about his age and enlisted in the Marines after learning of his uncle’s death, fought in the epic battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. He suffered serious injuries but survived and returned to his Indianapolis home.
He died in 1998,and his remains were cremated; but the family never had them interred.
Upon the announcement of the recovery of Manley Winkley’s body, the family decided on a joint final ceremony, choosing as a starting point the Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home in Nashville, where Manley Winkley’s great-niece Linda Welty lives.
The procession route through Nashville, Columbus, North Vernon and Madison is expected to be lined by hundreds of veterans, emergency responders and local residents rendering final salutes to the two men.
It will begin in Nashville at 11 a.m., proceed along State Road 46 into downtown Columbus, then down Second Street to State Street and State Road 7 through North Vernon to Madison.
At the entrance into downtown Columbus, members of the Columbus and Columbus Township fire departments dressed in formal uniforms will be joined by a contingent of local veterans assembled by Tom Crawford, Bartholomew County veterans affairs officer, and Rick Caldwell, commander of the Indiana AMVETS.
Members of the Columbus posts of the AMVETS and 40 and 8 organizations will be stationed outside the posts on State Road 7 as the procession leaves Columbus.
“Tom Crawford did a great job in pulling together local veterans for this project,” Caldwell said. “He worked with the local VFW and American Legion, and I think we’ll have a pretty sizable contingent alongside that garrison flag.
“The important thing to emphasize is that this salute is not limited to veterans. We want as many people as possible to line the route and pay honor to these men.”
The idea for spanning Second Street with the garrison flag arose in a meeting between David Allmon and Rodney Ferrenburg, chiefs of the Columbus and Columbus Township fire departments. “The garrison flag is pretty impressive,” Allmon said. “It belongs to the township department, and Rodney and I both felt it would be a fitting way to salute these two men in recognizing what they did for their country.”
The procession route will be lined by members of the Columbus Police Department at key intersections with assistance from the Columbus Fire Department personnel where needed.
Similar organizing efforts aimed at bringing veterans and residents alike out to line the procession route have been organized in Brown and Jennings counties.
Brown County Veterans Affairs Officer Ron Higgins said members of American Legion Post 13 and VFW Post 6195 are rallying veterans to attend the event, encouraging them to display flags when possible. “This is a big deal,” he said.
In North Vernon, members of the AMVETS Post 7 are rallying members to be part of a contingent lining the streets along the route.
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