America, the greatest Country in the history of the world, is a land of freedom and opportunities. However, these freedoms and opportunities came at a high cost. Since the birth of this nation in 1776, brave men and women have fought and died across the world in order to preserve the American way. Even still today men and women all across the world are fighting to keep the American dream alive. One of the most important things we as a nation can do is to honor those that are still serving and to remember those who gave their lives in the defense of freedom. This past Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, the community did just that with their annual Memorial Day Service, held this year at Shadowlawn Cemetery.
This year’s ceremony followed the order and customs of years past. There was the welcome from Al Yates, the posting of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem as well as America the Beautiful, sang by Neal Brumbeloe. There was even a laying of the wreath by leaders of the member organizations of the West Georgia Veterans Council. “Rest Easy, Sleep Well my Brother” and the playing of TAPS would end the ceremony that day.
Bernard Bledsoe introduced this year’s speaker, LtCol. Ruben A. Martinez of the United State Marine Corps. Martinez spoke briefly about some of the places he has been stationed including Texas. The main point of his speech focused on one of his Marine brothers, Corporal Gonzales. Gonzales, an everyday, ordinary Marine, gave his life in service of his Country. Martinez stressed that there are countless stories of men and women who will never be famous or have great remembrances that have given their life in order to protect our freedoms and that this is something to always remember.
The Sunday before this, May 28th, several Marines and local volunteers came together at Shadowlawn to prepare for the following days ceremony. These men, women, and children gathered at the cemetery to canvas the area, placing American flags on several graves all around the area. Parents were able to take their children around the cemetery., explaining the importance of those that have fought and died for their Country and what it truly means to be an American .
Many people all around the Country use Memorial Day as a day of relaxation and quality time with their families. This is an excellent use of that time but it is important to always remember the true purpose of the holiday. It is the highest of callings to support and remember our service members and veterans and to thank them for the sacrifices they make each and every year. By doing this, America will remain the greatest nation in the world for many, many years to come.