‘Too Many Forget’: American Legion sponsors Memorial Day ceremony to honor those who died defending nation’s freedom
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016
By Jacob Holmes
American Legion Post Unit 70 of Pike County held a Memorial Day ceremony at Troy’s Bicentennial Park Monday honoring veterans who died in battle.
“Many people spend Memorial Day relaxing at the pool,” said Katie Hale, Unit 70 president. “Too many forget the reason we have this day.”
Unit 70 Commander Bob McLendon explained the difference between the unit’s Veteran’s Day ceremony and Memorial Day ceremony.
“On Veteran’s Day, we hold a ceremony to honor and thank all of the veterans who have served our country,” he said. “This is a more solemn day to remember those who did not make it home.”
During the ceremony, the names of every Pike County resident to die in every war from World War I to Operation Iraqi Freedom were called with the ringing of a bell to honor their sacrifice.
The most recent veteran to be honored was John E. Brown of Troy, who lost his life serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His mother, Bonnie Brown, was given flowers at the ceremony as a special tribute.
Two American flags were also placed at the ceremony to honor fallen soldiers William McLendon and Lt. Col. James Furlow, with McLendon’s name being added to ‘the Wall’, which honors fallen Pike County vets.
A POW/MIA banner was also placed in honor of Staff Sargent Clarence Gibson of Grady, Alabama, who was aboard a plane that disappeared over Alaska in January 1950.
Ex-army aviator William Jackson spoke about Operation Mike, an effort to find the long-missing aircraft.
“Back then, the only way to find a plane was with your eyes,” he said.
“Now we have the technology to find it.”
Jackson said he’s been trying to contact the government to get a search for the plane.