The Columbia Veterans Affairs Health Care System held a Memorial Day Ceremony to honor fallen, wounded, and active duty Wednesday at the Avenue of Flags at 11:30 am.
On hand were a number of veterans and local dignitaries to pay respects to a cohort of citizens whose sacrifices have ensured our safety and freedom since before the country was founded. Dutch Fork High School’s color guard performed Presentation of the Colors at the beginning of the ceremony. John Daniel Fore, a Program Support Assistant, rendered a very capable singing of the National Anthem. Laying of Wreaths followed with the playing of taps by Hank Bilal of the Bilal Trio.
David Omura, the Medical Center’s Director made opening remarks before turning over the microphone to the keynote speaker, James Capobianco, a retired U.S. Army major and Iraq veteran.
The themes of service to one’s country and being part of something far bigger than oneself were constantly emphasized. Alan Redmond of Swansea, an army Vietnam veteran, mentioned that he went into the army to “give something back,” to this great country. When asked what would happen if Memorial Day fell into disuse, his replay was quick and certain: “Then we risk losing the memories of all those who died, and the sacrifices they made.” The prosthetic device on the lower half of his right leg lent legitimacy to his comments.
Finally, a benediction by Pastor Simeon Moultrie brought the ceremony to a close. Alan Redmond’s final thought summed up the ceremony: “Memorial Day shouldn’t just be one day in the year. Every day should be Memorial Day.”