Honoring fallen service members

Published 8:00 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

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With the threat of rain looming on Monday morning, families, military personnel, and city officials gathered at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery to remember U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

With a welcome provided by Commander Dave Buchy, USN (Ret) American Legion Post 88 and the “National Anthem” performed by Dianne Sharpe, Chaplain Carter Tyler provided the invocation with American Legion Department of Virginia Past Department Commander Gerald Rhoads recognizing the empty POW/MIA table and chair, symbolizing military members missing from their ranks.

During his keynote remarks, Col (Ret) Michael Winstead, US Army, expressed the appropriateness of cherishing this annual “unofficial start of summer” holiday joyfully, honoring departed loved ones while not losing sight of its significance.

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“It is all the befitting and proper to enjoy this wonderful holiday at the start of each summer each year, and I am sure our loved ones, who are gone too soon, would have us enjoy this day as a happy day,” Winstead said. “But let us not forget the lives they lost to protect ours, and I am sure that Steve and Rocky and Eric and Mark, like so many others, stand here in silence beside us today. And I offer that simple sign of respect to all of them.”

Following memorial wreath placements by the Memorial Honor Guard Corps with Bagpiper Andrew Lawrence performing “Amazing Grace” and Sharpe performing “God Bless America,” Ron Rosenkranz, USAF (Ret) American Legion Post 88, read the poem, “We Walked Among the Crosses” to attendees. Likewise, following the Salute Volley, Allen Hall of Bugles Across America played “Taps” towards the end of the ceremony. Rhoads also commented on the ceremony and Nansemond Post 88’s long-time role in the program.

“I think it’s not asking too much for someone to come out … because people have lost a loved one, whether it be a spouse, brother, mother, whatever. They remember every day,” Rhoads said. “Nansemond Post 88’s been assisting out here with this program since 2009. That’s when we first formed this post, and we’ve been doing this ceremony ever since.”