Goodwin served as a Marine in Vietnam before returning to his hometown of Sumiton. He passed away earlier this year, but his family attended the ceremony to honor him.
City council and veteran’s board member Bill Fowler regaled the attendees of stories of Goodwin’s pool-playing prowess, his truck and his wishes to be remembered by his grandchildren.
Local Marine veteran John Stewart, along with two men who served with Goodwin, Herb Shaw and Mac Hefner, placed a wreath on the Sumiton-Area Veteran’s Memorial to honor Goodwin and other veterans.
“As we’ve gotten older, we realize how important the time we spent together was,” Shaw said.
Hefner fought tears as he addressed the crowd, “We were so young and so innocent…”
Goodwin’s widow, Juanita Goodwin, accepted the various awards and honors presented in her husband’s memory at the event. She also choked back tears as she addressed the crowd.
“I would just like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you,” Juanita Goodwin said.
The speaker was Sonny Richardson, who served as a representative for the Office of Veteran’s Affairs in Jasper for a number of years. According to Fowler, Richardson was one of the first people to get involved when the Veteran’s Board began fundraising for the monument.
“There have been a lot of vets, widows and children from his area who have come into my office over the years,” Richardson said. “When a person has given their all, there’s not much you can say.”
Richardson also quoted from a speech he heard some time ago, titled, “I Am the United States of America” and told the audience about the beginning of Memorial Day after the Civil War.
“Lots of guys came back with physical scars, wounds they’ll deal with all their lives,” Fowler said. “Lots of guys may not have those outward wounds that can be seen, but may have emotional wounds inside things you saw or experienced that are still inside you. Those wounds don’t always heal.”