Chief: Thanks to those who ‘honor our fallen’

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home Police Chief Jeff Lynn offered his thanks to those who keep the memories of U.S. heroes alive Monday at Gilliland Cemetery as part of the annual Memorial Day Service held there by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary.

For many, Memorial Day is the start of summer, an extra day off, an extended weekend, a day to spend with family and friends and an excuse to have a barbecue, Lynn told a small crowd who had gathered for the service. “These are all privileges that we have thanks to the sacrifices that so many generations of men and women have made for us.”

Memorial Day is a day of reflection, Lynn said, a time to remember the men and women who gave their lives for those freedoms.

“Memorial Day is about those sacrifices that so many have given in service of our country,” Lynn said. “I would like to recognize those who have lost a family member or friend in military service. I can’t imagine the magnitude of their loss. The sacrifices that they have made and continue to make is a testament to their strength. Today is for them as well.”

Lynn told those who had gathered he wanted to thank them for keeping the memories of these heroes alive.

“So many of you work year round to help one another and to honor our fallen veterans,” Lynn said, and on behalf of his family, his department and his city, he extended his thanks.

“Those that we honor today, the men and women who have sacrificed their lives, are both elite and ordinary,” he said. “Elite in the sense of their character and sacrifice. Ordinary in the fact that they represent our diverse country. They are rich and poor, black and white, male and female. They are like any one of us.”

Services opened with a prayer by Howard Ruby, VFW trustee. Dale Jenkins and Stan Grey raised the flag, and Annie Mattox sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a reading by VFW Chaplain Marion Fritts of General Orders No. 11, which established Memorial Day: “Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation’s gratitude – the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

Following the keynote speaker, Lynn, Jan Hufford-Wilson recited “In Flanders Fields,” and representatives of various organizations laid wreaths to honor those who have fallen in service to the United States of America.

Earlier Monday, Hufford-Wilson and her family hosted a Memorial Day service at Crawfordsville Union Cemetery.