Pike County#039;s servicemen remembered

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 26, 2003

"Remember those who made our freedom possible."

That was the theme of the Memorial Day program held at the Bicentennial Park in Troy Monday morning.

Amid rippling flags placed around the perimeter of the park, speeches and songs highlighted the program, which was sponsored by Post 70 of the American Legion.

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From the very young children who enjoyed the day out of school and the soft grass of the park to the oldest citizens who remember the events of the Second World War, all manner of people were on hand.

JROTC students from Charles Henderson High School posted the colors, beginning the program, which was hosted by Scott Flowers, Commander of Post 70.

Flowers read a poem about the oft-forgotten contributions of American veterans, contrasting the frequently overlooked deaths of military personnel to the regal trappings of politicians' funerals.

The Heart of Dixie Barbershop Chorus performed The Star-Spangled Banner and Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford made brief remarks and welcomed the supporters of America's armed forces. He extended personal thanks "to those who served and came home," as well as to those who served and did not.

Faye Kidd of Wal-Mart presented $1500 to the American Legion and the barbershop singers serenaded the crowd with a rendition of "America."

Faye Pittman presented an award to the mother of PFC Johnny Brown, a Troy man who was killed while deployed with the American military in Iraq. Flowers described the sacrifice of those veterans killed in action by invoking the words of Abraham Lincoln: "They gave the last full measure of devotion," he said.

Dorothy Jinright and Pugh Davis placed a wreath at the Bicentennial Park's monument to fallen veterans as Doc Kirby played the slow and mournful notes of Taps on a bugle.

Finally, John Schmidt, a retired Marine Colonel, gave a rousing address, citing Biblical scripture and various works of wartime literature. He described the day's ceremonies as "an act of love in a peaceful setting."

Randy Ross, Pike County Veterans Affairs Director, was in attendance at the proceedings and said he hoped people would reflect on the somber meaning of the day.

"A lot of people just think of this as a three-day holiday and we've really gotten away from the true meaning of the day," he said. "These people made the ultimate sacrifice."