Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Marine's Sacrifice Is Honored at Last

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Marine's Sacrifice Is Honored at Last

Article excerpt

SGT. JOHN RICHARD HOLMES

MANATEE COUNTY -- On Veterans Day, a brief ceremony at the Vietnam War memorial in Bradenton brought at least partial closure for the family of a Marine whose sacrifice during that conflict, unbeknownst to him, earned him the Battle Wounded Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

At last, the engraved name of Sgt. John R. Holmes appears on the stone monument at the Veterans Park overlooking the Manatee River -- more than 14 years after he died from war injuries that left him in a coma.

In the decade since she noticed the omission, it__ troubled his sister, Patri-cia__ Holmes. Knowing her__ family preferred not to__ discuss her brother's fate,__ she did not undertake an__ effort to get her brother's__ name included.__ "It was too emotional__ for me," she said__ Wednesday.__ Christine Torgeson__ van Zandt, a friend of the__ founding family of Holmes__ Beach and classmate of__ John Richard from their__ days at Anna Maria Ele-mentary__ to Manatee High,__ decided to champion the__ cause. She contacted__ County Commissioner__ and former Holmes Beach__ mayor Carol Whitmore,__ who notified the Manatee__ County Veterans Council.__ The council agreed to not__ only add Holmes' name__ but arrange to honor him__ with an unveiling cer-emony__ on Veterans Day__ that included a reading__ of the poem "Soldier's__ Creed," an Honor Guard__ gun salute and a bugler__ playing "Taps."__ "It's indescribable,"__ Patricia Holmes said of__ the moment she saw her__ brother's name, which__ remained covered with__ an America flag until the__ unveiling. "I can't put one__ word on it."__ On Jan. 31, 1968, the__ lives of the Holmes family__ would be altered forever.__ Patricia and John were__ born into a family whose__ name has long been asso-ciated__ with Anna Maria__ Island -- grandchildren of__ developer Jack Holmes,__ who created a 600-acre__ subdivision after World__ War II that would become__ the foundation for the city__ of Holmes Beach.__ Patricia, then 17,__ remembers eating lunch__ that day while her mother__ also was at home. Holmes__ Beach Police Chief Snook__ Adams arrived with a tele-gram__ bearing devastating__ news. …

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