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Public turns out to honor veterans

In spite of a soggy weather forecast and gray skies, the 5th Annual Greenville Lions Memorial Day Celebration in Confederate Park went off without a hitch, drawing approximately 200 people to the heart of downtown to celebrate, honor and remember local heroes.

The program, which focused on Butler County’s Vietnam vets, featured prayers led by the Rev. Ronnie Boulware, a capella patriotic music by Lisa Lovett and the Posting of the Colors by Boy Scout Troop 520. Michael Rodgers returned to perform “Taps”, and the traditional Walk of Honor by all veterans in attendance capped the celebration.

Rear Adm. Peter “Pete” Booth, USN (ret.) of Pensacola, a former naval aviator and commander of the carrier USS Forrestal, paid tribute to the 58,000-plus service members who were killed in action in Vietnam, along with all others who had laid down their lives in times of war.

He also lauded the Greenville Lions for creating a Memorial Day celebration he described as one of the “best organized, friendliest such events” he had ever attended.

“It was wonderful to actually visit this great town and to meet some of its veterans. I have heard some fascinating stories today,” Booth said after the event.

Following the Walk of Honor, everyone was invited to enjoy barbecue sandwiches, chips and soft drinks courtesy of the Greenville Lions.

A new addition to the 2009 event was The Memorial Day Essay and Poster Contest featuring entrants from area schools. Winner of the Poster Contest was Lindsey Gibson, and Dannah Acreman was the winner of the Essay Contest. Lion president Hubert Little read Acreman’s moving essay, “What the War Means to Me,” to the audience.

“I was very pleased with how everything went today,” said Little, “Our weather held out and we had good community support. We had so many poster entries, we actually ran out of room to post them. We do try to make this a little bigger and better every year.”