The Miami Herald

OPA-LOCKA: City shows off new war monument

By Miami Herald Staff Report | Jun 3, 2007 | 280 words, 0 images


The city of Opa-locka marked its first official observance of Memorial Day on Monday by unveiling a war memorial in front of the City Hall courtyard.


Named after Robert E. Sherbondy, a resident who was killed during World War II, the stone structure lists the names of several South Florida residents who had died in combat.


"In other municipalities, they have these memorials, and Opa-locka should have one, too," said Commissioner Timothy Holmes, who co-sponsored the ceremony. "I was in the Navy myself, as well as my son and daughter, and I think it's important to appreciate the contributions of our soldiers."


The ceremony included the presentation of colors, bagpipe music Greg McWilliams, reflections by veterans, a prayer led by Pastor Ella Cobbs of Theos' Ministries, a three-gun salute and presentation of proclamations by Mayor Joseph L. Kelley and Holmes.


Veterans who spoke about their experiences included Emory Gibson, Roy Person, John Riley and Jeroam Washington.


Fallen heroes who were remembered included Lt. Melvin Jackson Jr., officially reported missing in action on July 18, 1952. Family members cried during the gun salute given by the VFW Post 5693 based at Ali Baba Avenue.

Also present were the widow, two sons, two daughters and granddaughter of Theophilus Chipman Jr., who was among soldiers landing on Normandy Beach in World War II.


Accepting other proclamations were family members of John Wilson, Irwin Lyons, Antonio Benjamin, Ernest Huff, Robert Jacobs, Emory Gibson, Oliver Maycock and his son Ronald, a member of the VFW post.


"This first Memorial Day observance for our city turned out great, but next year will be bigger and better," Holmes said.


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Sherbondy Family Association