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The Times
  • Medal of Honor recipients remembered

  • The Fallen Stars Committee conducted a plaque dedication ceremony on Saturday to recognize and honor five Herkimer County men who received the prestigious Medal of Honor. The five recipients remembered were Civil War honorees Benjamin Gifford, of Mohawk, and David J. Bass, of Little Falls, Indian Wars honoree Fra...
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  • The Fallen Stars Committee held a plaque dedication ceremony  on Saturday to recognize and honor five recipients of Herkimer County who received the The Fallen Stars Committee conducted a plaque dedication ceremony on Saturday to recognize and honor five Herkimer County men who received the prestigious Medal of Honor.
    The five recipients remembered were Civil War honorees Benjamin Gifford, of Mohawk, and David J. Bass, of Little Falls, Indian Wars honoree Frank West, of Mohawk, and World War II honorees Forrest L. Vosler and Walter J. Will, of West Winfield.
    The ceremony featured a number of speakers as well as a benediction by Reverend Brian Engle, a bagpipe performance of Amazing Grace by Jason Madison, a color guard and 21-gun salute ordered by Lt. Walter Will C.M.H. Post No. 1058, West Winfield and the playing of Taps by Jim Traglia.
    Distinguished speakers were Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono, state Assemblyman Marc Butler, state Senator James Seward, Congressman Richard Hanna and Donna LaDonna, Steve Vosler and Walter J. Will, descendants of the Medal of Honor recipients.
    Fallen Star Committee Member and Commander of the Mohawk American Legion Rich Monahan welcomed all in attendance for the ceremony.
    He began by saying, “This memorial is the culmination of an idea and a year’s worth of research that was dedicated to honor five recipients of the Medal of Honor.”
    Bono said, “The men and women who receive this honor are ordinary people who have accomplished unordinary things. It’s because of these people who have served our country that we can enjoy our freedom today.”
    Butler said, “When we look at history we tend to overlook the rich stories and individuals that lived before us. These are the men and women with a future that they have sacrificed for us.”
    Seward said he is honored to represent Herkimer County in the New York State Senate.
    “Herkimer County does not forget those who served their country. The Medal of Honor dates back to the Civil War and it is the highest honor. This is truly a recognition of the individuals we recognize this morning,” he Seward. “This is one way Herkimer County does not forget the sacrifices made by those of their past, present and future. Herkimer County always remembers.”
    Hanna said, “There are never enough words describe the honor these people have received. Those who served our country need to be remembered, especially those that are still with us here today. If you know a veteran say hello and thank them for their service.”
    Stephen Vosler, son of Medal of Honor recipient Forrest Vosler, remembered his father. He said, “My father was a real person who performed heroically, but he lived a very humble life. To have him remembered during this dedication ceremony is an honor and a great opportunity to reassess American values, re-energize the human spirit in America and help to strengthen our nation by keeping people informed of the true patriots who were willing to serve and protect.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Descendent of Bejamin Gifford by marriage, Donna LaDonna found her family history to be interesting. “I have done a lot of research and found that Gifford earned the Medal of Honor for his act of bravery during the Battle of Sailors Creek,” LaDonna said. “In Virginia, 20 miles away from the Appomattox Courthouse he captured the enemy flag.”
    A month after the capture Gifford was officially awarded the honor in Washington, D.C.
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