James Monroe Horton, center, was honored by Mayor David Perkins, left, and Terry Leon, American Legion.

In communities throughout America this week, veterans who served in the United States Military are being honored, whether it is on Nov. 11 or another day. These veterans have provided protection for this great nation as well as ensured that our freedom rings throughout the world.

Many soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom; some have died, lived as POWs or are still MIAs waiting to be brought home. As a grateful nation we are celebrating our soldiers - soldiers that are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles.

This week as we celebrate these heroes, I want to tell you about another hero that has been honored. The name and rank listed on his DD214 is PFC James Monroe Horton. Most people in Morehead know him as Roe Horton.

This is Roe Horton’s story ---

While serving in the U.S. Army, Roe was assigned to “Darby’s Rangers”. This was an elite group of men that were trained to get to the enemy first and leave last. They were a band of soldiers that were night fighters and marauder operatives.

On Jan. 22, 1944, Major General John P. Lucas, Commander of the VI Corps, failed to press his advantage and the Germans were able to contain the Allies within a narrow perimeter. The assignment of Darby’s Rangers was to infiltrate four miles behind enemy lines to the crossroads town of Cisterna. The 4th Ranger Battalion and the rest of the division launched a frontal assault to create confusion so Darby’s Rangers could drive a deep wedge into the German defenses. American intelligence, however, had failed to notice a large German buildup opposite the American lines.

When the two battalions began their infiltration on the night of Jan. 29 and 30, the enemy overpowered Darby’s Rangers; half of its combat strength was lost and taken prisoner. Horton was one of the soldiers that were captured along with other comrades from the 1st Ranger Battalion.

On Jan. 30, 1944, PFC James M. Horton was listed as a prisoner of war. His place of capture was listed as Cisterna, Italy and Roe did not gain his freedom until April 13, 1945 and was discharged from the U.S. Army.

On Aug. 21, 2008, James Monroe Horton, was honored by the Corbie Ellington Post 126 of the American Legion and Terry Leon, Vice Commander Area C, Department of Kentucky, as well as David Perkins, Mayor of Morehead and Jim Nickell, Rowan County Judge/Executive for his service to his country. Mr. Horton is a hero.

To share this ceremony with Mr. Horton was the membership of the Legion, the Rowan County Veterans Foundation, and Mr. Horton’s family – his wife, Ruth Evans Horton and his children, daughters - Joy Horton Tackett of Ashland and Debra Horton Armstrong of Morehead and his son, Marty Horton of Morehead; his daughter, Judy Horton Jessing of Atlanta, Georgia could not be present for the ceremony.

It is with great honor and privilege that Morehead and Rowan County should have such a great veteran to celebrate and thank for our freedom. God bless America and its military. Let freedom ring!

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