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Remembering the Sacrifice

The sound of taps mournfully filled a bright Monday morning, sunlight flashing off the bugle, as military veterans, their families, community members and a U.S. congressman gathered at the Lincoln County/Brookhaven Government Complex.

The mournful tune concluded a ceremony to honor and remember those who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts host the annual Memorial Day Ceremony.

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi’s third district was the event’s featured speaker. He highlighted what he sees as the meaning and significance of Memorial Day.

“Our nation’s full of stories of bravery and of great sacrifice,” said the Republican congressman. “For us to be able to reflect on that sacrifice is very special.”

Quoting presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, Harper, of Mississippi’s third congressional district, offered his own reflection on that sacrifice and its role in securing liberty in the world today.

While emphasizing the importance of a day of remembrance, Harper enjoined the crowd to always remain grateful for America’s fallen veterans.

“We should carry this sacrifice in our hearts,” he said.

And in an age in which drones and terrorism have increasingly become the vocabulary of war, Harper said he believes it’s vital to understand the nature of the threats the country faces.

“War has now changed. It is now global. We must not be afraid to call it what it is and not give it some sugar coated name,” he said, going on to state that America faces a war against fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.

Strength and unity are needed now in the face of terrorism, said the congressman. Though the country remains deeply divided by political differences, this resolve remains possible, he believes.

“There is much more that unites us,” he said.

Following Harper’s remarks, local veterans read the almost 100 names carved on the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial, the names of local soldiers killed while serving in the military.

As part of Monday’s ceremony, a memorial wreath was also placed at the memorial.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national motorcycling organization, participated in Monday’s event.

Local Patriot Guard Riders have been working with Brookhaven government officials to place a veterans memorial in the city. Under current plans by local group members, veterans or their families would be able to purchase a brick to honor a veteran.