By Kati Burns

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 29, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A Memorial Day ceremony honoring all veterans of war took place at Memorial Stadium Monday at 11 a.m.

A group of 40 to 50 people gathered on the bleachers placed in front of the stadium to hear the speaker for the day, while battling the hot sun.

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Members of the Ladies Auxiliary for Foreign Wars greeted everyone at the gates, wearing crisp blue uniforms and handing out tiny American flags.

Rod Stone, commander of Selma’s VFW Post, introduced the day’s guest speakers and called in the Honor Guard.

The Honor Guard carried in the flags and saluted while the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones was the speaker for the day and kept the ceremony short with a few heartfelt words.

“These people have paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” Jones said. “There are over 2 million men and women who’ve given their all for this country fighting for what they believe in. We’re free today because of their sacrifices. Freedom is not free.”

Jones mentioned that he wished he could have seen more young faces among those in the crowd assembled for the ceremony because he said many young people don’t know or understand the country’s history and the sacrifices made in the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq wars.

“History and what we stand for must be passed on by us,” Jones said. “History lives in your heart and soul and it’s important for us to share those thoughts. Never stop remembering and saying thanks to those who served.”

The true meaning of Memorial Day has passed into the horizon, Jones stated. Memorial Day has become to Americans today, just a time for family gatherings and cook-outs.

“This day is still important,” Jones said. “I believe if you don’t love this country you need to go somewhere else. What troubles me most is people that become complacent about local issues.

I think those who take a stand and ruffle the seas can probably sleep a little better at night. To our Veterans, we say thank you.”

At the completion of Jones’ speech, the Honor Guard posted the colors and laid flowers in honor of the veterans, upon the steps beneath the memorial monument.