Members of our community paused to recognize fallen heroes during a Memorial Day program sponsored by the American Legion Post #122 held Monday morning at the county complex auditorium.
Following a program of patriotic music and religious songs by Susan Hinton and Three Parts Grace, guest speaker Major Jerry Parker paid tribute to those who served our nation and particularly those from DeKalb County.
"Memorial Day is one of our two national holidays when we honor and remember those who served in our Armed Forces. On November 11 each year we honor our living veterans. Six months later on Memorial Day, we remember and honor the veterans who died for our country and those who have passed on since," said Major Parker.
"America is only 240 years old. But since July 4, 1776, there have been 1-million, 354-thousand 664 Americans killed in action in our armed forces. That figure does not include the thousands missing in action," he said.
"Memorial Day has gone from being a sacred day of remembrance to a day associated with the beginning of the summer season, big sales at the malls, and car races at the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600. There are even some people today who refer to Memorial Day as National Barbeque Day. However, there are still communities such as DeKalb County, who still take time from their Memorial Day activities to pause and remember and honor those who have served in our armed forces and died for our country," said Major Parker.
“While we are gathered here today, let us take a few minutes to remember the men from DeKalb County who gave their lives in battle in foreign lands and on far away oceans. We can find their names on a plaque at the courthouse. We can see their pictures on the walls at churches and schools here in DeKalb County. We notice how young they were. Most of them were in their late teens or early twenties. We can find the picture of a young man in a living room, where a grieving mother or sister still mourns for her son or brother who never came home," he said.
"These men from DeKalb County who died in service to our country did not want to die. But when they were called to duty, they did not flinch and they did not back down when they laid their lives on the line. They were and are our heroes today. We look at their faces in the pictures and notice how young they were. They never grew old. They are forever young. In some ways they are our greatest generation because they gave two lives for their country. They gave the life they had and they gave the life they never had so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in America and here in DeKalb County," said Major Parker.
"I don’t believe our fallen veterans from DeKalb County would want us to be sad faced today. I think they would want us to enjoy the benefits of freedom they fought for and died for. I think they would want us to remember them today and remember what they did for us," he said.
"Let all of us with gratitude in our hearts rededicate ourselves and promise that our veterans will always be remembered and honored and never forgotten," said Major Parker.
Prior to Major Parker’s remarks, Susan Hinton read “In Flanders Field”, a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army
"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
The program also included posting of the colors by Boy Scout Troop #347, welcome remarks by American Legion Commander William Edmonds, an invocation by Larry Green, Pledge of Allegiance, a recognition by Judy Redmon of local veterans in attendance who served in the various wars since World War II, and recognition of local public officials in attendance by Ronnie Redmon, Adjunct American Legion Post #122, benediction by Charles Olson, and the laying of a wreath at the Veterans Memorial Monument in front of the courthouse. DCHS band member Josh Moon blew taps on his trumpet at the conclusion of the program.