Dedication of the Memorial
8th Battalion 4th Artillery
By Isaac D. Smith, Maj. Gen. Ret.
This battalion has always moved quickly. I stand here today a proud former member of this magnificent battalion. I owe a tremendous amount of respect and debt of gratitude to people like Bill Kindt who commanded this battalion during its infancy and helped it to mature, and when I took over, I had a very mature battalion indeed, and all I had to do was to go around look important and smile a lot. My battalion performed at the same cadence that it is performing right now. You know we are here for a very special occasion. I need to digress for just one moment. While Joe Talley and a lot of my fellow compatriots were down in the bar last night celebrating, I was up in my room filling out a requisition. My requisition was -- when I came in here yesterday there was no doubt that the sun had superiority over all its domain -- so I requisitioned a little cloud. [Note: The requisition was granted.]
Isn't this a magnificent site? Just look at where we are. It's right up front where this battalion has always been. The people who made this all happen are Larry Martin and his committee who in the face of opposition, some of which came from me, pulled this thing off. It is done with dignity and respect. It is something that we can all be proud of. I really think that we owe a tremendous ovation to Larry and his committee.
As with all acquisitions you have a design stage, and someone had to draw all of that, and someone has to pick out a site to put it on. I certainly want to commend the folks who picked this site right here. I will tell you we could not have asked for a better place. Bill thank you. We're are proud.
This battalion has a lot of gusto. This battalion has got pride. This battalion marched at a great cadence, and all you've got to do is to look around. Look at the faces. Everybody is looking up. They're alert.
Even with my feeble eyes as an old man -- and there is only one person out here older than I am -- and that is Mack, I still can see that the men of this battalion really know how to pick wives. We’ve got some of the most charming ladies here. I look around. You know we’ve got people here who have never been to a reunion before. Now isn’t that significant? We’ve got people who came here from New Jersey, from Montana, from North Dakota, from Missouri, from Maryland, from Virginia, from South Carolina, from Texas, and of course from Oklahoma - and Alaska, and we even have one person who came all the way from Sidney, Australia to witness this occasion. And I might say I believe that we have more people here this time than we’ve ever had at any other previous reunion. And I really believe the reason why you came is because we were getting ready to put something on the ground that would enable the name of the battalion to live from this day forward well into the future, and hopefully, survive all of us.
We are indeed proud of this battalion. I am going to be very brief, but those who died fighting under the shield of this battalion, and whose names are inscribed on this monument, will know no other battalion. They gave their full measure and there is nothing else left for them to give. And there are those who were seriously wounded fighting under the shield of this battalion. Yet I see them. Some of them are here right now, and they wear their scars as badges of honor in the name of this battalion, and the name of 8th and the 4th will always be in their hearts. There are the rest of us who served honorably - we went through the period of time in this battalion, and we came back without a scratch. We will always remember. And remember is what the whole thing is about. This monument here is the source of remembrance. What we ought to do from this day forward in the future is to do our best to contact others and particularly those who are blood relatives of the 27 names that we have on this monument to come and participate, and hopefully, that their children and their children’s children and throughout the generations we will keep alive the great reputation of this battalion. I will ask you right now to just stand for a second if you will, and just for one moment reflect upon the time that we spent with this battalion and the experiences that we had.
At this point, in commemoration of our honored dead, in the name of the 8th Battalin 4th Artillery, I hereby dedicate this monument for you, for you, for you, and for me.
Thank you very much.
Isaac D. Smith
Major General (Retired)