Memorial Day event draws many veterans, family members

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A time to honor and remember: the 7th Annual Lions Memorial Day Celebration provided the community with a chance to both recognize veterans of all services and to memorialize those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

More than 250 people, many wearing red, white and blue, gathered in Confederate Park on a warm Monday morning as a time of “Honoring Their Sacrifice.” Military armaments and vehicles were on display around the park, while young volunteers passed out programs and small American flags to all those present.

For the first time, members of the public were invited to make brief remarks during the program, with Greenville City Clerk Sue Arnold, the daughter of a proud WW II veteran, encouraging everyone to teach the younger generations the importance of honoring war veterans and remembering the sacrifices they made. Walter Parmer of the American Legion Post 24, a veteran of the Vietnam era, reminded those present of the importance of taking care of veterans who are suffering physically, mentally and emotionally after their time of service to their nation.

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The keynote speaker, Captain Joseph W. “Jay” Lisenby Jr., USN, a Greenville native, stressed America, “this experiment in democracy for more than 200 years,” would remain the land of the free and home of the brave as long as there were dedicated men and women willing to serve and sacrifice to protect those freedoms.

Others participating in the event included the gospel group New Vision of McKenzie, Lions Hubert Little and Herbert Morton, members of Boy Scouts Troop 520, vocalist April Lowery, bugler Jim McGowin and the Rev. Reid T. McCormick of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

The traditional Veterans’ Walk of Honor closed out the program, with veterans from all wars and conflicts since WW II represented, earning the applause of onlookers as they made their way down the sidewalk lined with flags.

Attendees were invited to enjoy a barbecue sandwich sack lunch following the ceremony. All monetary donations made during the event will go to support Lions sight-related charities.

“This event seems to grow every year, which is just what we hope for. We are so happy to have good community support for our Memorial Day celebration,” said event chair Hubert Little.