Ceremony honors those who made ultimate sacrifice

Lives lost: Jim Dunlap reads the names of Chilton County natives killed during World War II as part of Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony.

Lives lost: Jim Dunlap reads the names of Chilton County natives killed during World War II as part of Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony.

Those who gave their lives for their country were remembered Monday at Chilton County’s Memorial Day program.

Speaker Lally Bates, a veteran himself, said he thinks veterans should always receive such treatment.

Recalling the words of Abraham Lincoln (“To care for him who has borne the battle…”), Bates said services intended to help veterans often fall short of their purpose.

“Funding of the VA health care system is less than it ought to be,” Bates said. “Several VA medical programs fall short of the resources they truly need.

“We know first-hand of this in Chilton County since we have lost our paid VA resource officer…We, the veterans of American, have a role to play as well. We are our brothers’ keepers. We are our sisters’ keepers. I’m so thankful for the veterans that have stepped up to the plate and are volunteering their time to work in the Chilton County VA office here at the courthouse.”

Bates told stories of historical acts of bravery, such as the battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, which inspired the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the USS Cole, which suffered a terrorist attack.

Bates also mentioned three local veterans who passed recently: O.J. McGriff, Bill Popwell and Billy Maddox.

“In the future, we must continue to maintain public awareness of what our country owes to those who carried the burden of the United States defense,” Bates said.

Before Bates’ speech, Morris Price welcomed those in attendance before the Rev. Tony Hughes of Walnut Creek United Methodist Church gave the invocation.

Eugene Cost led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance before Margaret K. Collins sang “America the Beautiful” and Kaitlyn Garrison sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

After the speech, the names of those who died in American wars were read by A.C. Luhrs, Jim Dunlap, Bates and John Burnette.

Don Smith played “Taps” while Charles Owens and Cost lowered the American flag at the monument.

The ceremony, which was the 27th to be held in Chilton County, was concluded with Darlene Carter placing a wreath at the monument.

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