An unusually large crowd of about 60 people gathered for remembrance and fellowship on Memorial Day at Camp Gordon Johnston American Legion Post 82.
The ceremony was brief, highlighted by an original prayer composed by Chaplain Barbara Cook.
Founding member Bill Miller welcomed “everybody except the yellow flies” to the post. He read the poem “Freedom” by John Alton Robinson to the assembly.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Cook read her prayer for the day written in a moment of inspiration. A mockingbird trilled in accompaniment to the solemn thoughts of those present.
“Dear Heavenly Father, O Holy One, Thank you for this beautiful day. Please bless and protect everyone who is here today. God, you are the commander of heaven’s armies. Lord, I would like to think that more than one million men and women who have lost their lives are now in heaven under your command. Lord, please bless and comfort all the families who have lost loved ones in wars. There will always be wars and rumors of wars until our Lord returns to Earth again.
“Please bless and protect our servicemen and women who are serving throughout the world due to the war on terrorism. May we now have a moment of silence and honor our veterans who lost their lives defending our nation.”
There was a moment of silence for those who have fallen in defense of America and to preserve freedom. Miller was then presented with a plaque commemorating a Lifetime Service Award from the Legion post.
It was also announced that Franklin County High School senior Stephan DeVaughn is recipient of the Post’s School Medal Award for History and Patriotism.
Legion member Dan Cox offered special thanks to Greg Kristofferson for placing flags at the grave of veterans to mark Memorial Day and Veteran Day
The group then adjourned to a covered dish lunch, followed by the retirement of American flags.
By John Alton Robinson
From the tomb of the Unknown Soldier
To the silver-haired crowns of our fathers,
From the shores of Tripoli
To the Pacific's pearl-green waters,
I wish to give a tribute,
A four-starred salute today,
For those who fought so bravely
For our freedom and American way.
We take our rights for granted,
But they were earned in blue-red blood
And courage beyond the call of duty
In France's cold, wet mud.
Beginning with the Revolution
Through the Saudi Arabian sands
Men have fought and suffered
And died on foreign lands.
So salute this Memorial Day
And many more to come.
Through blood and guts and glory,
Our freedom has been won.