A windy, chilly Veteran’s Day didn’t stop hundreds from joining in the celebration of several Parker County heroes at Weatherford College last week.
Though the ceremony was similar to most of the others, this year’s incorporated a building dedication and remembrance of a longtime Weatherford staple who passed earlier this year.
Members of the Jack L. Knight family were on hand to see the unveiling of a plaque that will mark the newly renovated building on the campus’ far north side in honor of Knight, the only WC graduate to win the Medal of Honor. Knight was born and raised in Garner, the oldest of eight children – seven boys and one girl. All the boys joined the military and sister, June, worked in civil service. He died in World War II and brother, Roy Jr., died in Vietnam.
Frank Martin, President of the WC Board of Trustees, said he discovered Knight’s story while searching to see if any WC students were ever awarded the Medal of Honor. This summer he brought the idea to name the newly-renovated building after Knight to the rest of the board members who all agreed the honor was “well-deserved.”
In addition to the plaque, a permanent display of Knight’s decorations along with many of his letters, papers and some photography were donated to the college by the Knight family. The collection is highlighted by his Medal of Honor and Purple Heart, and also includes his spurs and a photo of the young soldier on his horse, as he was a member of one of the last mounted cavalry units.
Dr. Bill Knight, also a WC alumnus and the youngest of the brothers, addressed the crowd following the unveiling sharing stories of his brother including his role as the “straw boss” on their Parker County farm where he learned to be a leader.
“He was devoted to duty and family life,” Bill said. “He was devoted to a very dreadful duty as a soldier. He knew what he was going to do that day when they attacked that hill. In my deepest place in my heart I know that. I read the 250 letters he wrote my momma and daddy the four years he was in the service.”
Bill shared that his brother never married because he didn’t want to leave a widow, and, in relaying stories he was told by other members of Knight’s unit, said Jack told his men that if any one of them failed to go home, that he wouldn’t either. As soon as the troop crested the hill, their mess cook, who had gone into the battle voluntarily, was killed.
“He knew what was going to happen,” Bill said. “Jack knew it. He knew he was going to fight until every Japanese on that hill was dead or he was. That’s Jack. He sacrificed for all of us.”
Also at the ceremony, Weatherford’s Chuck Katlic, a Battle of the Bulge survivor who passed away in August, was remembered .