The annual Veteran’s day parade was held Monday November 11 at 9:30 a.m. to honor the men and women who have fought for our country.
Representing those men and women were Jay Thomas and Justin Cassidy. The two veterans served as Parade Marshals during the event.
J.(Jay) H. Thomas Jr. was born on June 3, 1923, in Cobb to James H. Thomas Sr. and wife Willie.
Thomas grew up in a farming family until he was inducted into the Army in January 1943 to go and fight the Axis menace.
After various training assignments throughout the United States, Thomas was sent to England in preparation for the great invasion of Europe.
On D-Day plus 21, he slogged ashore on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. He was assigned to the 878th Signal Company (AVN), 9th Army Air Corps, as a Communications Tech in support of the P-47 and P-51 fighter bomber groups that were pounding the Germans for the infantry up ahead.
Thomas fought in the France and Rhineland campaigns, as well as the initial occupation of Germany.
Thomas left Europe as a Corporal T-5 and was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, with 2 Bronze Star devices for campaign service, the WWII Victory Medal, the WWII Army Occupation medal, the Army Marksmanship Badge for Carbine and .50-caliber machine gun, and the Diplome for the Liberation of France 1944-1945.
He received an Honorable Discharge in November L945, after sweating out being sent to invade Japan when they surrendered.
Thomas returned home to Bryan County to a productive life with his beautiful wife Geraline and their lovely daughters, Deanna and Natoma. Jay and Geraline still reside in Bryan County and have been married for 70 years.
Captain Justin Cassidy was born and raised in Durant. He is the oldest son of Kathie Cassidy of Durant.
CPT Cassidy is the proud father of Harley, Memphis, Justin II and Savannah Cassidy.
CPT Cassidy has served with U.S. Army Combat Teams forward deployed, Fleet Marine Forces abroad, U.S. Navy Battle Groups afloat and with the Oklahoma and South Carolina National Guard Infantry units stateside.
Most notably, CPT Cassidy successfully carried out combat operations against the enemy in the city of Baghdad, Iraq, (2006-2008) and the city of Kirkuk, Iraq (2009-2011).
CPT Cassidy’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Combat Badge and fifteen additional medals, ribbons and/or badges.