Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen

American Legion 6th District Commander Ray Barbour places flags for Memorial Day services.

There was a special feeling about this year’s Memorial Day. A light rain moved the Sunday afternoon service from the Lee Street National Cemetery to Moseley Memorial United Methodist Church, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of grateful Americans paying tribute to those who have served in our military.

The Veterans organizations posted the flags. Civilians saluted “Old Glory” with their hands over their hearts. Allison Turner, American Legion Unit 325, sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Soldiers, sailors, and air men of past wars and times of peace, paused to remember days gone by and those who did not make it home.

George Williams, Chaplain of American Legion Post 1097, gave the invocation, and Ray Turner, Post 1097 Commander, introduced the dignitaries who had come to help honor those who had served in our nation’s uniform. On hand were Robert Hurt of the U.S. House of Representatives, Delegate Danny Marshall, Delegate Les Adams, Vice Mayor of Danville Dr. Gary Miller; American Legion 6th District Commander Ray Barbour; Commander Don Mitchell of the American Legion Post 325; Commander Walter Davis of American Legion Walden France Post 29; Commander John Gouzo of VFW Ballard Pruitt Post 647; and Commander Janet Roberson of DAV Archer T. Gammon Chapter 19.

Keynote speaker, Master Gunnery Sergeant USMC (Ret.) Lance Jones gave tribute to the patriots who fought in the American Revolution, as well as the civilians who sacrificed for the birth of the nation in the civilian ranks. Some gave their talents such as sewing flags; riding horseback to warn the colonists of the approaching British troops; or forging the “Declaration of Independence,” the “Constitution,” and our laws.

Sergeant Jones listed numerous battles throughout our nation’s history and the audience contemplated the sacrifice of our military in the past 239 years.

Ron Mills, VFW Post 647 USMC (Ret.), and Corporal Joe Spence USMC served as escorts for the ladies who placed wreaths in memory of our fallen heroes. Wreaths were placed by Ann Barbour, president of American Legion Dan River Unit 1097; Brenda Walton, president of the American Legion Walden France Unit 29; Marie Gammon, president of American Legion Memorial Unit 25; Judy Cramer, president of VFW Ballard Pruitt Unit 647; and Janet Roberson, commander of DAV Archer T. Gammon Chapter 19.

The Honor Guards retired the Colors and the flags of their units, and Tim Carpenter played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. Chaplain George Williams gave the benediction, and on the steps of the church, the American Legion Post 1097 Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute. “Taps” was played, as in hundreds of services across the country, and a grateful nation remembered those who gave some, and those who gave all, that we may be free.

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