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Ceremony recognizes sacrifices

DAILY LEADER /  JULIA V. PENDLEY / Sgt. John Emory (left) and Col. Amos Parker were the keynote speakers at Monday's Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex.

DAILY LEADER / JULIA V. PENDLEY / Sgt. John Emory (left) and Col. Amos Parker were the keynote speakers at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex.

Pausing from the fun and relaxation during the Memorial Day weekend, a small crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex Monday morning to pay respects to those who have given their lives in military service.

Sgt. John Emory, a Korean War veteran and the executive director for the “Dixie” Division Veterans, spoke first, highlighting his experience with the military both while active and afterward.

Emory worked to explain the full weight of signing up for the military.

“Veterans are those who wrote a blank check to the U.S., up to and including their life,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of those were cashed.”

Emory also discussed going back to school after the war on G.I. bill. He said he was able to provide for himself and his wife on the money he received. He also said that a year’s tuition then at Hinds Community College was $11.55. That tuition included five academic courses and physical education.

DAILY LEADER / JULIA V. PENDLEY / Ray Glass (left front) and Billy Hughes present the wreath to be laid at the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial Monday morning.

DAILY LEADER / JULIA V. PENDLEY / Ray Glass (left front) and Billy Hughes present the wreath to be laid at the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial Monday morning.

Col. Amos Powell, commander of the 154th Regiment of the Mississippi Army National Guard based at Camp Shelby, spoke about the history of Memorial Day.

“This day arose from compassion for those who laid down their lives,” he said.

Powell recounted a story of the first Memorial Day in which women in Columbus, Mississippi, were clearing graves and laying flowers after the Civil War on the graves of Confederate soldiers. They came across Union graves and realized they also had cherished loved ones back home. The women decided to pay their respects to the Union graves as well.

“Our history is full of ordinary people doing extraordinary tasks,” Powell said of the many men and women who have made sacrifices for the freedom of the U.S.

The ceremony also included a reading of the names of all those from Lincoln County who have perished while on active duty. Greg Marlow and William Matthews read the names. Matthews finished the reading by giving thanks that no one from Lincoln County had died in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Ray Glass and Billy Hughes laid a wreath on the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial in honor of those listed. The ceremony ended with Willie Buckles playing “Taps” on the bugle. The Patriot Riders were responsible for posting the colors. VFW Commander Col. Ken Powell led the ceremony.

Buddy poppies and lemonade were also distributed by the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

After the ceremony, the Patriot Riders also held a small ceremony at the memorial for Danny D. Entrican in Railroad Park. Entrican was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. Present at the ceremony was Entrican’s sister, Jenny Watson and her son, Danny Watson.