Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard representative Harry Gaul and Clarence Sasser
The MUD 6 Board of Directors, consisting of Rick King, Richard Skotak, Erich Bell, Mike Haney and L’Sheryl Hudson, hosted a dedication ceremony for the Clarence E. Sasser Park, located on Southfork Dr. and Jeske Rd., Saturday (Nov. 15).
Clarence Sasser is the recipient of a Medal of Honor for Valor, which is the highest award that can be given to a soldier, and is usually presented posthumously because the actions that merit this honor usually cost the soldier his or her life. He currently resides in Rosharon.
Sasser served as an Army Specialist Combat Medic during the Vietnam War. After a U.S. helicopter crashed, he dragged a wounded GI to cover. He ran back to render aid to others, despite heavy enemy fire from three sides. Sasser was hit in his shoulder and both legs, but dragged himself over to his brothers to help, refusing medical attention, in spite of experiencing blood loss and extreme pain. He remained there for five hours.
Sasser received his medal from President Richard Nixon on March 7, 1969 at the White House.
After the Presentation of Colors by the Brazoria County Combined Honor Guard and singing the National Anthem, MUD 6 President Rick King took the stage.
“Like I was saying to some folks before the festivities, having a living Medal of Honor winner is very rare,” said King.
“In other words, the actions that someone takes to earn that medal usually results in giving their lives when they’re taking care of someone else. It’s an honor to have [Sasser] here today, not only to put a face to a name, but to be able to say thank you.”
After reading Sasser’s citation, King introduced the guest of honor.
“It’s a good day for a dedication,” Sasser joked, referring to the gray, cold weather. “There’s no sweat running down anyone’s face.
I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out for this occasion. I categorize it as giving me flowers before I go in a wooden box,” he added.
Sasser Park was created from a large detention pond designed to give flood relief to the area neighborhoods, including Silvercreek, Fieldstone and Silverlake. It features a pavilion, barbecue pits, play structures, a soccer field, a baseball diamond and a jogging trail.
“I like the park. It’s a very picturesque park, meant to serve particular neighborhoods and we need more of them around town. They are useful when we get those downpours that we do. Having the baseball field, the soccer field and whatever else families use is what I call ‘grassroots.’ I like to think of myself as a grassroots type of person,” said Sasser.
“People always ask me about the Medal of Honor. They always ask why. Well, somebody had to do something or we were all going to die. When something has to be done, I think it falls on your shoulders to do it. You have to look at it from the point of how it was. We ate together, we slept together, we played cards and dominoes together. They’re your guys. The rest of the company had either been killed or wounded in action so somebody had to do something. When you’re faced with that situation, step up and do it. Don’t shrink back. I would personally rather die trying to do something than laying there cowering in fear,” said Sasser.
There are 79 Medal of Honor recipients still living in the U.S. from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and the more recent wars in the Middle East.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website, the Navy Medal of Honor was the first one established.
“On December 9, 1861 Iowa Senator James W. Grimes introduced S. No. 82 in the United States Senate, a bill designed to ‘promote the efficiency of the Navy’ by authorizing the production and distribution of ‘medals of honor.’ On December 21st the bill was passed, authorizing 200 such medals be produced ‘which shall be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines as shall distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities during the present war (Civil War).’ President Lincoln signed the bill and the (Navy) Medal of Honor was born.
Two months later on February 17, 1862, Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson introduced a similar bill, this one to authorize ‘the President to distribute medals to privates in the Army of the United States who shall distinguish themselves in battle.’ When President Abraham Lincoln signed S.J.R. No. 82 on July 12, 1862, the Army Medal of Honor was born.”
The dedication ceremony concluded with fanfare and attendees, including newly elected County Commissioner Ryan Cade, took advantage of the barbecue lunch provided by Joe’s Barbecue in Alvin, the bounce houses, popcorn and cotton candy provided by Manvel Moonwalks and the many amenities of Clarence E. Sasser Park.
For more information on the Congressional Medals of Honor, visit CMOHS.org. To learn more about Brazoria County MUD 6, visit BCMUD6.org.
Source: The Pearland Journal