American Legion Honors Former Air Force Lt. Alice Hawthorne
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ Alice Hawthorne was remembered as many things _ an airman, a soldier, a friend, a wife, a mother.
These were the words used Thursday by American Legion Post 512 Commander Willie Pitts Jr. to describe a fallen comrade, killed by a bomb at Centennial Olympics Park years after her military service.
Mrs. Hawthorne, a 44-year-old former Air Force lieutenant, was killed by a pipe bomb Saturday morning. The blast injured more than 100 others, including her daughter.
Mrs. Hawthorne was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and served as the first female junior vice commander of the legion post about 10 years ago. About 100 people gathered at a memorial service to honor the slain legionnaire.
``This candle is a symbol of eternal life for a fallen comrade who gave so much in such a short life,″ Pitts said as a candle was lit in her memory.
Past post commander Marshall Bailey remembered Mrs. Hawthorne as a 17-year-old donning fatigues and having a fresh outlook on her future. But she was alone in Albany, so he took her in as part of his family.
``She said she had no relatives here so I invited her to come and meet my family and become a part of our family,″ Bailey said. ``And we became close from that point on.
``She believed in herself because if she didn’t do it, no one else would. She set high goals so she’d always have something to shoot for. When she came to me and told me she was thinking of opening a business, I said `Well, you know you, and if you think you can do it, you can.‴
Three years later, her business _ an ice cream and hot dog shop named for her daughter, Fallon Stubbs, is still open.
Albany State University ROTC members presented the post colors at the ceremony and soloist Mary Bailey paid tribute to her friend in song.
``If I can help somebody as I pass along then my life shall not be in vain,″ she sang.