MemDayA short video clip of the ceremony.
City officials, military personnel and residents flocked to J.F. Gregory Park Monday to commemorate fallen soldiers as part of Richmond Hill’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Around 100 people took time out from barbecues and family get-togethers to salute past American soldiers. The festivities included a panel of local speakers such as Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Commander Harold Eckhoff, Paul Spence with Vietnam Vets of America and American Legion Commander Greg MacDougal. Some read poems while others reminisced about some of their fallen comrades.
Bethel Baptist Church Pastor Carlton Cooper led a prayer encouraging everyone to maintain a responsibility to remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
Nine-year-old Richmond Hill resident Hanna Suddath opened the ceremony with a talented rendition of the National Anthem. Mayor Richard Davis also broke out in song – choosing Ray Boltz’s "It’s an Honor to Serve" for the occasion.
3rd Infantry Division Lt. Col. Brian Gale served as the key note speaker for the ceremony. He commended Richmond Hill for their seemingly tireless pursuit to honor the military.
"We see your dedication by looking out at this great Veterans Monument," Gale said. "We see the Blue Star Marker that was recently dedicated, and we also understand that the Traveling Wall will be here next month. Truly this is a community that cares and will never forget."
Gale also commented on the 3rd ID, many of whom have recently arrived home to the Coastal Empire. He said commemorations like this show the kind of military support that keep them motivated as they endure their missions. Gale then introduced several members of the unit.
"Our soldiers believe in what they’re doing and your continued support keeps them in the fight to preserve our freedoms. Our first brigade combat team recently came home from Iraq. The brigade was highly successful in their mission – bringing about a new dawn of peace and prosperity in what was once one of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces. When the brigade came home, no coalition forces were put in to replace it. That’s an indicator of the success that we are having with our continued efforts in Iraq."