Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, is set aside as a day to remember those who have died serving our country. For many families, remembering those lost in battle happens every day, throughout each year. These are the families of our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedoms remain.
American Legion Post 224, located in Cherry Lake, organized the 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony, held in Four Freedoms Park. Jerome Wyche served as the Master of Ceremonies, and Rev. Octavius Tookes gave a powerful speech as the keynote speaker. Danny Graves led the crowd in the National Anthem and later wowed everyone with a song he wrote about our flag and our country. Rev. Joe Boyles, Mayor Rayne Cooks, and Commissioner Alston Kelley also took part in this ceremony.
In addition to the local celebrities, Jerry Burton of the British Legion joined the ceremony from Lakeland, Ga. Burton added his own touches, including leading the Laying of the Wreaths at the memorial monument and raising the flag back to full-staff.
In the program provided, the following was written: “On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”
Oliver Bradley provided a fitting finale to the touching ceremony with hotdogs and chips for everyone. Bradley, along with his brother and other family and friends, prepared the food and served the hungry crowd.