Memorial Day services

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 27, 2001

to be held in Pike Co.


Staff Writer

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Thousands of men and women have given their lives in the name of freedom and all of them will be remembered on Monday during Memorial Day ceremonies across the nation and here in Pike County.

At 11 a.m., veterans and citizens will gather at Bicentennial Park in Troy and at 9 a.m. at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge to pay tribute to those deceased veterans who make Memorial Day so meaningful.

American Legion Post #70 Commander Fred Kreps said Memorial Day is "one day we should always gather and remember."

Living is a "mostly peaceful time it is easy to forget why we’re a free people," Kreps said during last year’s Memorial Day ceremony.

But, it’s because of those more than 116,000 Americans who perished in World War I; the 400,000 who lost their lives in World War II; the 37,000 who died in Korea and the 53,000 who gave their lives during the Vietnam War that America is a free nation.

Kreps said Memorial Day gives citizens the opportunity to pay tribute and "remember what we’ve been given" by those fallen heroes of war.

State Commander of the American Legion of Alabama F. Wayne Turner will speak of patriotism as flags representing the community’s war dead proudly wave.

"The setting is out of this world with all those flags," Kreps said of the ceremony at Bicentennial Park.

Sheila Jackson will sing the National Anthem and the Air Force ROTC from Troy State University will post the colors. A barbershop quartet will also be part of the program, Kreps said.

"We have a very good program."

During the solemn ceremony, memorial wreaths will be placed before the arch bearing the names of those Pike Countians killed in action.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7055 will also have a Memorial Day program at 9 a.m. at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge.

The public is invited to both ceremonies.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating graves of those soldiers. It was first observes on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the soldiers’ sacrifices by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers.

During the first celebration of this holiday, 5,000 participants decorated the graves of more than 20,000 Confederate and Union soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Actually, Waterloo, N.Y. is considered the official birthplace of Memorial Day because the city first celebrated the holiday on May 5, 1866 with a community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers.

By the late 1800s, many communities across the country began celebrating Memorial Day and, after World War I, observances also began honoring those who died in all wars.

In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.

Today, many celebrate the holiday at ceremonies ­ like the one in Troy ­ honoring those who lost their lives so that the United States might be a free nation.