VFW does more than put on program
Maria Goolsby died without ever knowing what happened to her son while he fought for his country in Korea.
Today, her surviving children know a lot more, and future generations will have more information about the man the military recorded as Connie Goosby. And that’s because, on Monday, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667 held their annual Memorial Day remembrance.
Several hundred people gathered at Veterans Memorial Plaza. There were flags, uniforms and folks dressed in red, white and blue.
There was also something more – a public acknowledgement of the VFW post’s annual dedication of shoe leather and computer time to flesh out the stories of Cowetans who gave their all for America.
Six weeks ago, what Post 2667 knew about Connie Goosby would fill half a sheet of paper. By the time of the program on Monday, post member Dick Stender had combed through military records and found the date of Goosby’s capture and details of the march – with no food, in freezing weather – of POWs, including the Newnan man toward Camp Five on the Yalu River.
Stender found statements by five comrades who knew that Goosby died Feb. 25, 1951. The Goolsby family was particularly heartened by the knowledge that their loved one’s remains had been recovered – something that is still not true for some 4,000 American soldiers killed in the Korean War.
Connie Goosby’s story is perhaps the most dramatic example, but VFW Post 2667 has been pulling together stories about Coweta’s fallen heroes for years. Family members, old schoolmates, comrades from military days and official military records have all been tapped to piece together the stories of those who gave their all.
Those facts then have been used to give a human face to what otherwise would be a day with less focus on what the loss really means – children who are not there to care for aging parents, grandchildren who are never born, empty seats at holiday time, and hurting places in hearts.
“We are free, but freedom costs something. Freedom costs lives. It cost our family something. It cost your family something,” Tom Goolsby, Connie Goosby’s brother, reflected at the ceremonies on Monday.
“In the end,” Goolsby said, the sacrifice “justifies the means – because we are free. God wants us to be free.”
VFW Post 2667 deserves the community’s thanks, not only for putting together the annual Memorial Day program, but for the work they do that brings closure and peace to families. “These guys,” Tom Goolsby said, “are just terrific.”