Flags at full mast proudly displaying the red, white and blue stars and stripes were seen as citizens honored veterans for providing our freedoms.
The Memorial Day celebration hosted by Disabled American Veterans (DAV) A.L. McLaughlin Chapter 27 took place at Veterans Monument in front of the St. Clair County Courthouse.
Retired Army Commander Carol Varner from A.L. McLaughlin DAV Chapter 27 served as the Master of Ceremony alongside Dale Onstine, Retired Army/Vietnam Veteran/Treasurer DAV Chapter 27.
Malia Thidabo, a nine-year-old young lady sang the National Anthem.
Local veteran and presiding circuit judge for St. Clair County Judge Phil Seay spoke to the crowd in remembrance of those who preserved our freedoms.
Pell City mayor Joe Funderburg addressed attendees saying, “We honor those who sacrificed so much for this country, state and city. Let’s not forget our veterans. God bless America and God bless our veterans.”
Thidabo stepped up to the microphone again to sing the Armed Services Medley.
As she sang each branch of the military’s song veterans in the crowd stood and clapped and saluted.
Chad Richmond, DAV national executive committeeman for the 8th district, Vietnam veteran, DAV Department of Alabama deputy vice chairman, board of veterans and retired U.S. Army Major, served as the guest speaker.
Richmond began by asking the crowd full of veterans and civilians, “what is Memorial Day?”
He told attendees Memorial Day can be traced back to the Civil War when Southern belles would tidy up graves of their heroes.
“This caught on in the North as well,” said Richmond. “Fallen soldiers knew they’d be taken care of. In 1882 Memorial Day officially became known as a day of remembrance for those who died in active military duty.
“The reason they died is never ever forgotten,” Richmond said. “Our veterans have done so much to make this country great. They are strong and vibrant. They are loved, were loved and are missed. Our goal now is to teach our children what is special about today.”
Explaining the purpose of DAV, Richmond said, “DAV was established to fulfill our promises to the men and women who serve. This is the sacred honor and pledge we fulfill today.”
Closing with the poem, The Unknown Soldier, Richmond read those meaningful words out loud in front of St. Clair County’s Veterans Monument.
Teresa Carden sang “Another Soldier Is Coming Home.”
Melissa Thomas, Chaplain, DAV Chapter 27/Commander, AmVets Post 25 of Pell City and Johnny Storey, Senior Vice Commander of DAV Chapter 98 of the Anniston/Oxford area red the names of the St. Clair County Fallen Heroes.
The laying of the wreath was presented by Audrey Johnson, from the Broken Arrow chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her daughter Amelia Johnson of the Canoe Creek Society’s Children of the American Revolution.
A final salute to our veterans, the Alabama Artillery Group, fired off a cannon salute honoring those who are “gone, but not forgotten.”