Continuation of honoring those who serve main message on Memorial Day
BATH — Those who served shouldn’t be honored just one day of the year, but honored everyday, retired Air Force Airman 1st Class Billy Payne said.
Dozens gathered on Saturday morning at the Horse Creek-Midland Valley Veterans Park in the heart of Bath for the third annual American Legion Post No. 153 Memorial Day Ceremony.
Veterans and their families remembered the sacrifices of individuals who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War and current battles fought overseas in Iraq.
“We must remember our veterans, many of those who risked and gave their lives so we could have freedom here in the United States,” Payne said. “Many were also wounded. We have to remember them everyday.”
The program included prayers by Chaplain Buster Youngblood, tributes from American Legion 153 Commander and Army veteran Harry Barton, as well as veteran speaker of the day Leroy Delionbach.
“Among those 888,497 enumerated (deaths), here are men and women who left families, friends, homes and civilian careers to answer their country’s call,” Delionbach said. “Some of them lost their lives in hand-to-hand combat, some in artillery barrages, planes that went down, ships that sunk. Some, like Pat Tillman, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some died silently and alone, others executed by a bitter enemy.”
Tillman was a football player who enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks. After Tillman’s death in Afghanistan, the Army reported he was killed during enemy fire. About a month later, the Pentagon notified Tillman’s family that he had actually been killed during a friendly fire incident.
Delionbach said those pausing to remember the men and women who dedicated their lives to service should remember one thing.
“Those of us who pause on this day to honor them should resolve to ourselves, and to one another that they have not died in vain,” Delionbach said. “But that we will honor them with our lives.”
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.