May 27, 2004

V.F.W. To Host 58th Annual Memorial Day Service

Memorial Day has been a time when younger Americans paid tribute to the memories of fallen soldiers in days gone by. The current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is bringing new meaning to the holiday for many young people as new names are being added to the list of heroes to whom our nation pays tribute for making the ultimate sacrifice.

As always, the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post 4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will lead the citizens of Scotland County in remembering our veterans in the 58th Annual Memorial Day Services. The ceremony will be held on the lawn of the Scotland County courthouse Monday, May 31 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

As the event program states, “On this Memorial Day, let us remember the brave American Veterans who carried the torch of liberty in wars and conflicts all around the world. Their bravery, sacrifice, courage and selfless patriotism defend not only our American way of life but brought democracy, freedom and liberty to millions of people in nations near and far.”

“All veterans are invited to attend,” said V.F.W. Post Commander Donnie Middleton. “Those that can not march are still encouraged to attend.

The post commander indicated that special seating will be made available for all WW II veterans.

“Relatives who read this are asked to pass on the invitation so that due respect may be paid to those brave Americans.”

The VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary will be on hand to escort marching WW II veterans to their seats.

Marchers are asked to assemble at the VFW Post at 9:00 a.m.

“WW II vets may choose to be seated before the march if unable to participate,” Middleton said. “We would like to see each and every one of you. Your presence is valuable, if only to better explain history to our children.”

Middleton will open the ceremony along with program chairman Bill Camp. Charles Harris will lead the gathering in the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance. Charles Hammack will provide the invocation.

The Scotland County R-I Band, under the direction of Katie Lewis-Lehr, will perform a musical selection prior to officers of the V.F.W. placing a wreath at the veteran’s memorial at the courthouse. Additional patriotic musical selections will be performed by the Memphis Community Players culminating with the SCR-I band’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

Judge Gary Dial will introduce the speaker for the event, Beaufort “Buck” Katt, Deputy Director of the State Emergency Management Agency, and Vietnam veteran.

James Parker will sing “Sleep Soldier Boy” with Connie Courtney accompanying on the piano.

After Father Bill Kottenstette gives the benediction the V.F.W. members will present the firing squad and a 21-gun salute. Brian Dial will play Taps with Michael Fulk providing the Echo.

If weather prevents the holding of the outdoor service, the ceremony will be moved to the V.F.W. post home.

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