Tayson Brown wanted to honor those who had served our country, and proposed an Eagle Scout project to build a monument in Moccasin to recognize those who served in the United States Armed Forces, both from Moccasin and the Kaibab Village. After much planning and work, and with a lot of help from Ron Johnson, Bing Thomas and others, a beautiful bronze and sandstone monument was dedicated Sunday evening, July 8 in Moccasin. Twenty-eight soldiers were honored, and more have been found and will be added to the monument.

Ron Johnson spoke of the experiences of those who served from Moccasin, starting with World War II, a time when all able bodied young men were being called to duty. His own grandmother, Esther Heaton Johnson, sent five of her six sons into battle. Her oldest son Carl and a small group of U.S. soldiers were captured behind enemy lines in Germany. Outnumbered, they fought fiercely to escape, then hid out at night and traveled by day for two weeks until they made it back to American lines.

LaVar Heaton was held prisoner of war for almost two years in Germany, and came home emaciated and ill.

Melvin Kelsey Heaton served in the Philippines. His wife Nora wrote: “I was in Moccasin when we received word that the war had ended. People ran into the street shouting, laughing and crying. The old bell on uncle Sterling’s granary was ringing. I don’t remember ever being so deliriously happy in my whole life! All I could do was cry.”

Other Moccasin and Kaibab Village Veterans served in the Korean Conflict, during the Vietnam War and in Desert Storm. One of the happiest outcomes of that service was when Derryll Heaton brought his wife Inge home from a tour of duty in Germany.

We join Tayson in expressing deep gratitude to all brave men and women who have served in our military. It is because of their selfless courage that we retain the freedoms we cherish in this great nation. We honor them for their service and sacrifice.

Tayson is the son of Darren and Regi Brown, and grandson of Stan and Jeanie Brown of Moccasin.