A day to remember

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2010

An hour before noon on Monday, almost a hundred people gathered at Bicentennial Park to pay tribute to those who have fallen while serving America.

The annual Memorial Day ceremony took place with the thoughts of those who had lost their lives and those currently protecting the country, in mind.

“This day is reserved for those who sacrificed their lives for this country,” Commander Bob McLendon said while welcoming all the attendees.

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The 45 minute ceremony featured the saying of both the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance as well as remarks from Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and guest speaker Captain William Barron, as well as the reading of all those who lost their lives while at war from Pike County.

Mothers who had lost a son in a combat were also honored, as were families of fallen soldiers.

“This is a blessed day,” Lunsford said to the crowd.

“This is a completely different day from others – this is a day set aside for those who gave the extreme sacrifice.”

Following Lunsford was Pike County Veterans’ Service Officer, Randy Ross and guest speaker, Barron.

“Memorial Day is more than just a three-day holiday,” Ross said.

“It is a day that we gather to honor those who have given up their lives, so we could live ours.”

Barron, who is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, served the country for 26 years.

He talked about while the faces in the navy and armed forces may change, the same principals and honor still apply.

“This is a special holiday,” he said.

“This is a day where we look past our differences and come together to honor those who have died serving this country.

“This is a day where we look at out heroes who have fought or are fighting for our freedom,” Barron added.

Barron mentioned that currently, 51 percent of all the navy ships are currently out at sea, with over 35,000 men and women on them.

He also mentioned that 61 percent of everyone in the Navy is under the age of 30, which shows the youth’s role in severing our country.

After Barron left the stand, McLendon returned to read off the names of those from Pike County who had died, serving the country.

In all, 54 names were read, six of which came from World War I, 35 from World War II, nine of which came from the Korean War, three from Vietnam and I from Iraqi Freedom.

The Gold Star Mothers were honored afterwards, an honor that goes to the mothers of fallen soldiers.

Ester Watkins and Bonnnie Brown were both recognized for the losses of their sons, Joel in the Vietnam War and John in Iraqi Freedom.

The Memorial Wreath part of the service was presented and place at the memorial by Katie Hale of the Unit 70 Ladies Auxiliary and Tom Hale, who was with the Navy.