Community members honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom | News

LINCOLNTON – Memorial Day – the unofficial start of summer, a three-day weekend for some, the chance to go to the beach, get out on the lake or barbecue. In reality, however, Memorial Day is a day to reflect on those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

At the ceremony held Saturday afternoon at VFW Post 1706, Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Martin Eaddy was the keynote speaker.

“I wasn’t sure what I, a nonveteran, could bring to the table on an occasion like this so I thought I would share some general information with you,” he said. author, Barbara Maranzani. ”

Eaddy shared the following information on Memorial Day.

It was May 1. 1865. Charleston, SC Civil War had been over for about three weeks

Prior to the wars end Union soldiers had been held in a series of hastily assembled POW camps. Conditions were squalid. One camp near the Citadel was particularly bad and more than 250 soldiers had died there from wounds, dysentery, and disease. buried in a mass grave located behind the school’s grandstand.

On May 1, a very unusual procession entered the camp. Over 1,000 people recently released from enslavement, accompanied by members of the Massachusetts 54 Infantry (an all African American unit), and a handful of white Charlestonians gathered in the camp to consecrate a new They sang hymns, gave readings, and distributed flowers around the cemetery. These people were there to honor people that they did not know who laid down their lives for people they did not know but whose total commitment to a cause was admired by all in attendance. Arguably, this was the first Memorial Day in America.

The Civil War, resulting in more than 620,000 Americans dead, affected every town across the country. Various celebrations were held at various times of the year to honor these fallen heroes.

Three years after the events in Charleston, in May of 1868, General John Logan, the Commander in Chief of the Union’s veterans group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day for commemoration of these It is believed. On Decoration Day, as Logan called it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead (quote) “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land”. that he picked May 30 because no battle in the Civil War was started on that date.

Americans embraced the notion of Decoration Day immediately. That first year more than 27 states held some type of ceremony. At Arlington National Cemetery more than 5,000 people attended that ceremony. By 1890 every former state of the Union had adopted it as an official holiday. For more than 50 years this day was used to commemorate those killed in only the Civil War, not other conflicts. It wasn’t until America entered into World War I that the tradition was expanded to include those killed in all wars. Memorial Day was not officially recognized nationwide until the 1970s while we were embroiled in the Vietnam War.

The term Memorial Day was used in the 1880’s but it was officially Decoration Day for more than a century until changed by federal law. Four years later the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 went into effect, moving Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May. There was opposition to this change because some people thought the long holiday weekend would get the attention, not the Memorial Day recognition.

Despite the increasing celebration of Memorial Day as a summer rite of passage, there are some traditions still on the books. The American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon and then raised to the top. In 2000, as a result of legislation , all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 local time.

“So here we are,” Eaddy said. “Continuing an American tradition dating back to the mid 1800s. But records dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans show that they also set aside time to honor their fallen soldiers. Historically, nations recognize the sacrifices made by their soldiers as the only way of preserving their values ​​and way of life. ”

Since that initial celebration after the Civil War, Eaddy added, remember 620,000 died, an additional 619,000 military personnel have been killed. So this Memorial Day we honor the 1,239,000 warriors who have sacrificed themselves to keep this country great, free and strong. Let’s remember That is also almost 1.5million families to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for their loss and pain on our behalf. So. While we commemorate them at this time, let us not just honor them but emulate their commitment to our country. John Kennedy said, “We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

“I want to close by saying that a well-trained, well equipped, lethal military is what protects us from aggression and allows us to support the cause of democracy around the world,” he said. It is those soldiers that made the full and total sacrifice that we honor today. I think President Harry Truman said it well,’Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid . They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.’”

At the ceremony held on Memorial Day in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse, Keith Poston, the new director of Hesed House of Hope and the Democratic nominee for the at-large Lincoln County Board of Education seat was the keynote speaker.

“First let me say thank you to our Heavenly Father for allowing us to see this day and allowing me a few moments to pay respect to our veterans and military service men and women locally and afar,” he said. That God’s mercies are new each morning so that every day is a brand-new opportunity. A brand-new opportunity to start over. ”

Poston has two members of his family who were veterans, his grandfather Fletcher Poston who served in the Korean war and my uncle Chesley Hamright who served in the Vietnam war.

“As I was preparing my speech for today and thinking about how to best show my respect and honor our veterans, I decided I would try and shed some light on what is Memorial Day and what sacrifices these wonderful men and women have gone through for our country, ”he said.“ I must admit I was a little nervous preparing this speech. I wanted to make sure I honored our veterans and military service members correctly. I did not want to be too long, but I didn’t want to be too short and not give this day the respect it deserves. As I thought about it, it became clear that I just need the content to be meaningful and from the heart. ”

In his speech, Poston shared a similar history to that which Eaddy did Saturday night.

“There are two traditions I want to point out, the first is the raising and lowering of the flag on Memorial Day,” he said. “The US flag is quickly raised to the tops of flagpoles, then slowly lowered to half-mast and The flag is then raised to symbolize the soldiers living who are Secondly, is the Memorial Day concert that takes place on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building on the eve of Memorial Day. The concert is held annually. If you missed the concert last night, I recommend you go back and watch the concert. It was a great concert honoring the military service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families and those who have made that ultimate sacrifice for their country. ”

Poston closed with a quote from Claudia Pemberton, “America without her soldiers would be like God without his angels.”

On this Memorial Day, the flag was not raised or lowered at either ceremony but remained at half-staff to commemorate those who died in the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

As they do for almost every veterans-related ceremony in Lincolnton, members of the Disabled American Veterans Honor Guard fired a three-shot salute and Bugler Ed House play taps for both ceremonies.

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