More than 100 people gathered in J.F. Gregory Park Monday to honor military people who have given their lives for the cause of freedom as Richmond Hill held it annual Memorial Day observance.
Featured speakers included Richmond Hill resident Lisa Freeman, mother of Capt. Matthew Freeman, who was killed during a military operation in Afghanistan in August 2009 and Col. Michael Adams, from Fort Stewart.
Under a blazing sun, an emotional Freeman told of her son's desire to defend freedom and make a difference while representing his country. She also read her son's last journal entry and said Captain Freeman wanted his parents and country to be proud of the man he had become.
"He believed in what he was doing," Freeman said.
After his death, the captain's mother set up several charitable organizations to help children in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places in the world.
She said Richmond Hill showed an outpouring of support at a dark time in her life and that support continues to this day.
"Matt loved Richmond Hill, she said.
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter called Captain Freeman a "hometown hero" and presented his mother a Memorial Certificate, from a grateful city, in honor of the memory of Captain Matthew Freeman.
Featured speaker Colonel Adams said it was fitting and proper that we pay homage to those great Americans who gave their lives for us all "and for the freedoms we continue to enjoy.
"As we take this day to remember the fallen ones and stand in solidarity with their loved ones, we must remember their sacrifices," the colonel said.
The day's observance closed with Freeman, Mayor Carpenter and Colonel Adams laying a memorial wreath at the Veterans Monument and the playing of TAPS and a 21-gun salute.