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Ann Fish: Annual Eden event pays tribute to World War II and Korean veterans

Reidsville Review - 6/3/2018

EDEN - Overcast skies and threatening rain may have kept some at home, but spirits of the crowd that turned out Monday at the Fair House to honor World War II and Korean War veterans weren't dampened.

Sponsored by the Eden Evening Lions Club, the seventh annual event began with a processional of limousines, provided by Fair Funeral and Wilkerson Funeral homes, carrying the veterans and escorted by Patriot Guard riders, Eden City Police, and Rockingham County Sheriff's Department.

After they were seated, Norma Jean Corum, who leads the program, welcomed the veterans and guests. A program of music and the presentation of colors followed.

Retired Army 1st Sgt. Zack Reynolds said the gathering was to honor "the enormous sacrifices made by our nation's heroes and their families."

"We must never forget all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom," he said, acknowledging those who had lost loved ones in the line of duty. "It doesn't matter how much time has passed, no words of condolence can even begin to adequately console a survivor's grief."

What began nearly 150 years ago to commemorate those killed in the Civil War has grown to one of the nation's most solemn and hallowed holidays, Reynolds said.

"The graves at Arlington and at countless cemeteries worldwide remind us that freedom is not free. It has a cost. That cost is the men and women resting in our cemeteries. They were ordinary folks who answered the call and rose to meet seemingly impossible odds and did extraordinary things in order to protect and defend our American ideal and way of life."

Regardless of the circumstances, "men and women came together from all different regions of this country, all walks of life in an effort to defeat tyrants, ensure justice and fulfill the promise of safety and security for our citizens and the global community. Their lives were dedicated not to conflict or death but to compassion and life.

The speaker said one word of "extreme interest" to him is "hero."

"There is concern today about a lack of heroes. If people have no heroes, it is because they are looking for heroes in the wrong places, Reynolds said.

"Today's heroes believe in freedom, and this belief is tested every day, as our men and women in uniform face the perils of war. Heroes come from you," he said. "They were warriors who daily demonstrated the patriotism and fidelity they learned from you. And they wanted to make a difference in life because you taught them it was important to do so.

"The spirit of those who gave their lives to protect American liberty and values will always remain embedded in the fabric of our culture. And each time we remember these brave men and women and reflect on their service and patriotism, we renew their spirit and keep their memory alive."

"As we honor those who gave their lives in service to this nation on every Memorial Day, let us also remember that we must be ever vigilant against those who want to destroy our way of life," Reynolds said. "We must be willing to strengthen ourselves to ensure that future generations will be able to live, work and play in an environment that is fair, equal, peaceful, and free, and that is these United States."

Pastor Lemuel Hardison gave the invocation and Pastor Luke Money, the benediction. Caraline Corum, 10, led the National Anthem, and Don Powell, a patriotic song. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Carter Money, 9. Additional music was provided by Stan and Glenda Corum, Dwight Lucas, Jim Eanes, Don Wright, Dave Smothers and Danny Perkins.

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute by the Rockingham County Honor Guard and taps by Bubba Hobbs. Red, white and blue doves, then white ones, were released by Denise McKee of Sky Dancers.

 
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