Ceremony honors fallen service members

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, May 31, 2016


In remembrance of those who gave their lives for their country, the VFW hosted its annual Memorial Day program in front of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex Monday morning.

The ceremony began with the posting of the Memorial Day colors by the Patriot Guard Riders. The national anthem was sung, followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

VFW Commander Col. Ken Powell welcomed the numerous government officials and guests in attendance and thanked them for taking the time to recognize those who scarified their lives for the United States of America.

“Today, of course, is a day we set aside to honor those men and women who have given their lives and service to our country,” Powell said. “As a nation, we’ve been blessed with liberties and freedoms that are unprecedented in the history of human kind. Those liberties and freedoms were bought and paid for by men and women, such as those people on the memorial behind me, who were willing to go do their duty even if that duty entailed giving their lives for their county.”

Powell continued by explaining why we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“It’s good that we gather and honor their memory and their service,” he said. “It’s good that we gather to honor their families — the families they left behind — who were forever altered by the loss of their loved one. I do thank each and everyone of you for being here today on this most important day as we take this opportunity to stop, pause, remember, be thankful and honor those who’ve given their lives. May our county always be willing to remember their fallen heroes. If we fail to do so, then we have failed as a country.”

The event featured Maj. Gen. William B. Lee of Winona whose 29 years of military service included assignments with the 114th Field Artillery, the 31st “Dixie” Division and the 210th Finance Company. Lee’s decorations include the Mississippi Magnolia Cross, the Mississippi Magnolia Medial, the Mississippi Commendation Medal, the Emergency Service Medal, the National Defense Medal and the Distinguished Service Ribbon.

Lee reiterated Powell’s sentiment, that Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have given everything for the freedom of those around them.

“Well, indeed, it’s an honor to be here with the great folks of Brookhaven and Lincoln County,” Lee said. “We are here to honor you and those that are not with us today. To borrow a phrase from President Ronald Regan on his address at Arlington Cemetery in 1986, ‘We give thanks today for the valor of others.’”

America’s greatness comes from those that were willing to die for it, Lee said.

“If someone were coming to the United States for the first time and they were to ask me, ‘Show me America,’” Lee said. “I’d bring them right here to Brookhaven and the Lincoln County community because you are a microcosm of all of the goodness that provides America with her greatness. Not perfection, not by far, but still the greatest miracle that’s ever been bestowed on mankind by providence. If we are to maintain this greatness, we cannot wavier from this idea. We cannot depart from our national character. Our character, whether its individual or collectively as a nation, is our destiny.”

The program also included a reading of the names on the VFW memorial in front of the complex. A wreath was placed in front of the memorial in honor of each man and woman listed on it.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of taps. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary served refreshments.