Community honors John Cooper for patriotism, service

WARRENSBURG - David Cooper, Stephanie Brown and Jayne Cupp, children of the late John Cooper, together unfurled an American flag, moments before they raised it on a shiny, new flagpole at American Legion Post 446.

About 70 friends and relatives of John Cooper, veterans, and townspeople gathered for the ceremony Sunday to dedicate the newly-installed flagpole to World War II veteran John Cooper, well-known in the region for his patriotism and community service.

The crowd outside the Legion hall squinted in the hot afternoon sun as they saluted the flag.

"As long as this flagpole stands and this Legion Post continues, John will always be remembered," Legion official Gene Pierce said.

Brown and Cupp dabbed tears from their eyes.

"John Cooper was a dedicated, patriotic person, and this Post was his first love besides his family," Post Commander Carson Parker said.

Cooper volunteered hours of his time to manning coin drops, recruiting new members and coordinating Post activities including the Boys State program, Parker said.

Also, for years Cooper organized the town's Memorial Day parade on behalf of the Legion post, Parker said.

His patriotic volunteer work included searching out graves of veterans throughout the region and getting them properly marked and decorated with flags, Legion officials said.

His decades of patriotic volunteer work earned him the status of being chosen as the first Grand Marshall in recent history of Warrensburg's Memorial Day Parade, David Cooper said.

His work extended beyond the Legion-related activities, however. For many years, Cooper raised and lowered American flags at the Warrensburg Town Hall, the Floyd Bennett Bandstand and the town cemetery.

Cooper's dedication to the community included taking action when the fire company's alert siren sounded to unlock the doors and bays at the firehouse so the firefighters could save precious seconds in responding to an emergency call, his children said. Also, Cooper would even make sure the headlights of the responding firefighters' vehicles were turned off.

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