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Honored son

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060922 honored son Bessie Richardson reacts to the plaque and flag presented to her. Photo by Charlie Ballard


Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The true meaning of Memorial Day in San Jacinto County was displayed through a ceremony on May 30 honoring one of the county’s fallen heroes.

Pvt. John Nelson, a young African American from Coldspring, joined the Army in October 1917 to serve in World War I.
At the time, the military was segregated, so Nelson was assigned to the 369th Harlem regiment, a regiment so tough in battle it was named by the enemy the Hellfighters.

Nelson was killed in action on Sept. 26, 1918, in one of the last, bloodiest battle of the war — the Meuse-Argonne offensive — and is buried in the Romagne-sous-Montfaucon cemetery in France.

He was honored by area veterans and officials, and his 91-year-old niece, Bessie Richardson, was the special guest at the event.

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