A monument saluting the memory of William “Bill” Norwood was unveiled Saturday in First Street Square, a Cleveland city park.
Bill Norwood was a young U.S. Army Corporal when he became a prisoner during the Korean War. He was a POW from April 25, 1951 to August 15, 1953. During his lifetime, Norwood was an advocate for America’s POWs and MIAs. He was active in local veterans organizations and served on the Southeast Tennessee Veterans Home Council. He was known as a friend to fellow veterans and their families.
Born in Polk County on May 31,1930, Norwood died last February 28, 2018. Several veterans and patriotic organizations began a fund drive for the granite monument including the Disabled American Veterans; American Legion; Benevolent Order Of The Elks and the Colonel Benjamin Cleveland Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.
The marker was unveiled Saturday by Norwood’s widow Elizabeth “Liz” Norwood before a large crowd that included many family members, veterans, local officials and friends. In the audience was Elliott Sortillo, Of Cypress, Texas, and a Korean War P.O.W. He and Norwood served together in the National Korean War P.O.W. Association.
The program emcee was George Gray, Exalted Ruler of Lodge 1944, the Benevolent Order Of The Elks. The invocation was made by state Representative Kevin Brooks.
Speakers included Norwood family friend Tenth Judicial District Attorney Steve Crump; former Bradley County Veterans Affairs Officer Joe Davis, Claude Hardison, Sons Of The American Revolution; Roy Smith of American Legion Post 81; Gretchen Coppinger of the Elks Lodge; Joe and May Duncan, Chattanooga’s Rolling Thunder and grandson Daniel Norwood.
“He loved to be outdoors,” Norwood said of his grandfather. “His monument will rest here with the sun shining down and he will be remembered. This is the best tribute you could give him”
Rolling Thunder members presented a missing man place setting ceremony. The Bradley Count Veterans Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute.