Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin ceremony honors Purple Heart recipients for their service

DUNEDIN — The day World War II veteran Lou Greber was wounded still gives him nightmares.

It was Jan. 13, 1945. The Army aviation engineer's ship was part of a large convoy about 30 or 40 miles off the island of Corregidor, in the southwest Pacific.

Suddenly, a kamikaze bomber rocked the boat so hard that Greber says he was knocked out of his boots. More than 100 men died; several of their bodies were left unidentifiable.

Greber was among the severely wounded. He received a Purple Heart for his service.

"I served my country and I'm proud of it," said Palm Harbor resident Greber, now 89 and commander of the JFK Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. "As a soldier and as a wounded soldier, we like recognition every once in a while."

He got his wish Friday morning, as about 50 people gathered in Dunedin's Purple Heart Park to pay tribute to the scores of men and women who have been wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers read a proclamation declaring Sunday as Purple Heart Day. "Thank you for your sacrifice," he said.

Attendees stood silently as a color guard fired off a 21-gun salute. A lone trumpeter played taps, followed by a bagpiper, who played Amazing Grace.

JFK Post 1963 vice commander Alfred Lentz added two tribute bricks to a park memorial built in honor of combat-wounded veterans.

Lentz, too, is a Purple Heart recipient, after a booby trap injured his right foot and a separate incident in which a rocket blast sent shrapnel slicing into his left knee in the late 1960s.

He shuns being called a hero.

"I'm just an ordinary Joe. It was part of my job," said Lentz, 73, a Vietnam veteran. "The heroes are the ones that died over there."

During the ceremony, Scott Daniels of Clearwater clutched the rectangular gold-embroidered black case holding the Purple Heart of his late father, Robert Daniels, a World War II veteran.

Scott Daniels attends the city's Purple Heart ceremony each year, and said his family visits the park each patriotic holiday to see the brick dedicated to his father.

He's pushing for a special committee to start planning an even bigger and better event for the tribute ceremony's fifth anniversary next year.

After all, said Daniels, the park showcases not only Dunedin — which was designated as the country's first Purple Heart City by the national Military Order of the Purple Heart in 2006 — but also the entire region.

"Too often people forget," said Daniels, 60. "To be able to have that connection with this history and also with (my father's) legacy is wonderful."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153.

Dunedin ceremony honors Purple Heart recipients for their service 08/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2011 7:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Massive crocodile seen roaming the streets, and there was only 1 thing a cop could do

    Wildlife

    Name one thing you really don't want to see around 4 a.m. walking around your neighborhood.

    Watch out for that croc.

    A crocodile was seen roaming a street in Miami-Dade.
  3. Pinellas County Sheriff's employee resigns under investigation related to domestic violence arrest

    Crime

    LARGO — A civilian Pinellas County Sheriff's Office employee resigned Tuesday while under an internal investigation that began after he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

    Joshua Volz resigned Tuesday from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He had been under investigation after he was arrested for domestic battery, according to police. [Pinellas County Jail]
  4. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal

    Criminal

    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.