A monument to a monument
If you attend the Veteran's Day ceremony Saturday (Nov. 11), you will see someone place a wreath at the foot of the Veteran's Memorial at the front of the Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library.
That memorial lists the names of soldiers from Sequoyah County whose lives were lost in all the wars up to Vietnam. What you won't see on that memorial is the name of Gwendolyn Sue (Tatham) Taylor, the person largely responsible for that monument being there today.
A close friend, Ora Lee Kirk, tells the story of how Sue was on a trip somewhere and noticed a monument dedicated to the local fallen heroes of the various wars.
Seeing that monument set Sue to asking why Sallisaw and Sequoyah County couldn't have a similar monument. At the time, Taylor was doing volunteer work with the 4-H.
“Sue Tatham, 4-H volunteer believed that Sequoyah Countians who gave the supreme sacrifice in wars should be honored. She initiated and provided leadership for the memorial monument at the Stanley Tubbs Library in downtown Sallisaw,” Kirk said.
Kirk said Taylor organized various fundraisers, making enough money to have the monument built and placed at the library. The monument lists all the names of the deceased veterans from World War I (28 names), World War II (113 names), Korea (8 names) and Vietnam (12 names), 161 engraved names.
“We were blessed to have Sue Tatham who had the foresight to undertake such a meaningful project,” Kirk said.
Taylor, or Tatham's hard work and drive paid off on May 25, 1986, when the monument was dedicated at the library.
“At the dedication, 4-H members and the crowd sang patriotic songs and tributed those to a particular war,” Kirk said. Following the ceremony, members of the audience lingered at the monument admiring the work and looking for names of loved ones, acquaintances and relatives.”
In an ad prior to the dedication, Neal and Darlene Agent praised Sue Tatham and the Sequoyah County 4-H Club by saying, “Through this group project you've shown how to get things done for the betterment of the community. We appreciate your hard work and are so very proud of you.”
Gwendolyn Sue (Tatham) Taylor passed away Wednesday, Nov. 1. She was laid to rest Monday, Nov. 6, in the Sallisaw City Cemetery.
Kirk said it would be nice for her to be remembered when the Veteran's Day ceremony is held Saturday, but it would be better, she said, if someone would try to have a plaque made and placed somewhere on the monument, recognizing Sue's efforts.