2009-09-25 / News

Decorated patriot rides as grand marshal for Laurens County Patriots’ Pride Parade

By Mimi M. Maddock

Photo by Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain John Temple Ligon, grand marshal Photo by Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain John Temple Ligon, grand marshal For the fifth time, the Office of Veterans Affairs in Laurens County sponsored the annual Patriots’ Pride Parade held at noon, Saturday, Sept. 19. Following the parade through downtown Laurens, there was a luncheon sponsored by the City of Laurens and Mayor Sharon Brownlee. That night, beginning at 6, the VA put on the 2009 Hall of Heroes Induction Ceremony at the Laurens County Fairgrounds.

John Temple Ligon,

Columbia Star business editor, rode atop the back seat of a red Mustang convertible as the parade’s grand marshal. Ligon was discovered by Amanda Capps, a Laurens native running her public relations firm in Greenville. But for the Laurens County function, her time and efforts were purely pro bono. Also in the parade were armored tracks, such as a tank and a self–propelled howitzer, and other military vehicles besides marching troops and riding dignitaries.

At the induction ceremony, Ligon gave the keynote address. He was introduced by S. C. Representative Mike Pitts (R–Hickory Tavern). Ligon began his speech by citing from memory the John Donne poem which ends, “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Ligon reminded the audience the poem is found before the title page in Hemingway’s

For Whom the Bell




Tolls, President Barack Obama’s favorite book and the same for his recent competitor, Sen. John McCain.

Then Ligon recalled two colorful war stories, each connected with a named enlisted assistant whom Ligon declared his honest intent to track down and thank for the second time after 40 years since the first.

Ligon concluded his short address with a quotation from Shakespeare’s

Julius Caesar:







Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,(35) It seems to me most strange that men should fear Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.

The next morning Ligon’s radio show was broadcast from the Presbyterian Home in Clinton where he interviewed World War II veterans.

Editor’s note: Former 1LT Ligon, Airborne Ranger, served in the U. S. Army for two combat tours in South Vietnam, including Cambodia. He is decorated with five Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, which was awarded to Ligon, an artillery forward observer, because he was chosen as the replacement infantry company commander on a few occasions over the company’s infantry lieutenants.












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