Fallen veterans honored during annual servicePublished 5:09pm Monday, May 27, 2013
“Freedom is not free,” was a phrase and sentiment both Dallas County residents and citizens across the United States reflected on Monday in celebration and honor of Memorial Day.
Scores of residents gathered in front of Memorial Stadium Monday morning for the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Memorial Day service where Rayburn Hill, VFW Post 3016 commander, opened the ceremony by asking those in the audience to look around them.
“If you happen to be standing or sitting beside a [veteran] — just reach out and shake their hand and thank them for their services,” Hill said, encouraging the crowd as they exchanged both handshakes and hugs of gratitude.
Guest speaker Selma Fire Chief Mike Stokes reminded the audience of the reason for the national holiday.
“Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who have paid the ultimate price while serving our great nation,” Stokes said. “(To our veterans), we continue to owe our thanks and our honor. It is important not only to recognize their service, but to respect their devotion to duty and to ensure their fight will never be forgotten.”
Stokes said Memorial Day is a time to remember the fallen.
“For over two centuries our armed forces have been the surest guarantee that freedom will continue across our great land. Let us not ever forget the continued price they paid for our freedom,” he said. “[Memorial Day] remains a time of observation to honor and respect those who fought to protect the liberties that our forefathers proclaimed”
Veterans and supporters paid tribute to the sacrifice and devotion to duty of America’s fallen soldiers, laying wreaths and flowers at the foot of the war monument at Memorial Stadium as a symbol of remembrance.
Selma Mayor George Evans concluded the ceremony, thanking those who attended for their respect and remembrance with a salute as he invited everyone to join in the city’s Moment of Remembrance Ceremony in front of Selma City Hall.
During the city’s ceremony Orville Mayor Louvenia Lumpkin, Valley Grande Mayor Wayne Labbe, Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard and other elected officials gave words of remembrance before the names of local service members who died serving the country were read aloud followed by a moment of silence.
At 3 p.m. sirens echoed down Broad Street and across the country as Evans asked everyone to, “take just one minute of remembrance for those who have lost their lives.”