Submitted by: Richard Eckert Sr.
Richard Eckert Jr. from Watersound, Fla. and Craig Smith from New Orleans were winners of the Annual Coastal Mississippi Patriot Golfers and Non Golfers Golf Tournament hosted by American Legion Post 42 of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The pair teamed up in what Post 42 hopes to be an annual Patriot Golf Tournament at the Gulf Hills Golf Course located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This year's tournament was held April 13.
This may be the first tournament on the coast or in the USA when a Patriotic opening was conducted to include a POW/MIA Ceremony honoring a veteran who sacrificed his life for our freedom and could not be in attendance. Nearly three score of veterans and the general public honored the sacrifice of PFC James P. Alvin Shaw, a native of Mississippi and a Korean War POW/MIA. PFC Shaw was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He was taken as a prison of war while fighting the enemy in North Korea on December 3, 1950 and died while a prison on June 23, 1951 . His final resting place occurred this past week at Biloxi National Cemetery.
Post 42 member Andrew Jackson, presented the ceremonial POW/MIA FLAG on the empty chair and was joined by other members of Post 42 and scores of veterans who attended PFC Shaw’s final resting place at Biloxi National Cemetery this past week.
The ceremony was so touching, and members who attended expressed their support for a 2020 return. Commander B. Smith of Post 42 wants to continue the event and open it to all American Legion Posts on “Coastal Mississippi” as well as to the public as an annual event to honor the sacrifice of veterans who are not present so that WE can live in freedom.
About the author:
Historian, Post 42 Ocean Springs, Mississippi.