Here are some photos from the Memorial Day Service that took place today, May 31.
Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
CLick once to bring a photo into a single screen, and then again to enlarge.
By Betsy Finklea
The weather was perfect for the annual Memorial Day observance at Veterans Square on the grounds of the Dillon City-County Complex.
A large crowd attended the hour and seventeen minute ceremony presented by the Dillon County Veterans of the Year and led by Major General (Ret.) James E. Lockemy.
In his opening remarks, Lockemy said that the service was a recognition of the sacrifice made by many American men and women for our freedom. He said while Veterans Day honors all veterans, Memorial Day remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He said those in attendance were there today because they realize and appreciate the sacrifices made.
Rev. David Owens of Beulah Baptist Church gave the invocation.
The National Anthem was sung by Barbara Causey, and the flags were raised to the top of staff in recognition of our nation and then lowered to half mast in memory of those who died for our country. The flags were hoisted by MSG (Ret.) Terry Morris and SFC (Ret.) Harry Moore.
The Dillon High School JROTC presented the colors. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by Marine (Never Retired) John Harlow.
Charlie Vance, a former Veteran of the Year, introduced the guest speaker, BMCM Ray Brown, a Purple Heart recipient. He is a Vietnam veteran and served also in Desert Storm and was deployed to Saudi Arabia.
Brown made very appropriate remarks for the occasion. He told the audience that joining with them “in remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by over two million veterans for the freedoms we enjoy in these United State of America is the greatest honor and privilege that I have ever received in my 72 years on earth. But God, two of the most important words in the Bible, but we also must never forget their family members, who shared in the sacrifice of their loved ones.”
He mentioned his deceased father-in-law, Raleigh Bullard, a World War II veteran, “who endured beatings, starvation, and other inhumane treatment as a prisoner of war for 27 months in Germany,” and the plan God had for him. He noted that his father-in-law also served in Vietnam.
He spoke about his grandmother, who reared him, and something she had told him about the American flag. She told him the stars represented the states. The 13 stripes represented the 13 original colonies. The blue background represents “perseverance (Never Give Up).” The white stripes represent “purity (Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You).” The red stripes represent “the bravery and blood of all veterans who bled and gave their lives for this great country.”
“Because of the ultimate sacrifices of our veterans, their families, and God’s grace, let us never forget that ‘all gave some, but some gave all,’ which I believe applies to every military member who makes the ultimate sacrifice whether in wartime or in peacetime.”
Remarks by Ray Brown
Here are the remarks by Ray Brown, the guest speaker at the Dillon County Memorial Day Service:
Thank you, Chairman Judge Lockemy and members of the Dillon County Veteran of the Year committee for inviting me to speak today. Thank you Charlie Vance for that introduction. Thank God for His guidance to my family who raised me and are deceased, and to three special neighbors, also deceased: Mr. Lafon Norton, First Park Superintendent of Little Pee Dee State Park, Senator Roger W. Scott, Dillon County State Senator, and Mr. Theo Price, a WWII combat veteran. All their efforts combined, makes me the man I am today. Like my favorite Sailor Popeye says, “I Yam What I Yam”.
Joining with all of you in remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by over 2 million veterans for the freedoms we enjoy in these United States of America is the greatest honor and privilege that I have ever received in my 72 years on earth. But God…two of the most important words in the Bible…but we also must never forget their family members who shared in the sacrifice made by their loved ones.
Would all veterans, their families, and all their friends here today, please raise your hands. Thank you. I firmly believe that our loved ones in Heaven can hear us when we offer praise and gratitude to them. Therefore, I also thank my wife, Janet’s deceased Father, Raleigh Bullard for his service to our country, a WWII veteran, who endured beating, starvation and other inhumane treatment as a prisoner of war for 27 months in Germany. God had a plan for him. Returning home, he married, had a family, rejoined the military and served in Vietnam thus also becoming a Vietnam veteran.
In john 15:13 Jesus said “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I recently read the following quote, “death leave a heartache that no human can heal; love leaves a memory that no human can steal”. Again, I think of the words “But God” and I recall a line from my favorite hymn “Oh How I Love Jesus”; it tells of one whose broken heart can feel my deepest woe and in each sorrow bears a part than none can bear below! On How I Love Jesus Because He First Loved Me!” The greatest gift and sacrifice that was ever made for you and me was the gift and sacrifice made by God and his only son Jesus Christ…John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
WWI had been over for about 30 years, and WWII had only been over about 3 years when I was born. Both my grandmother and grandfather had endured the pain of seeing their family members going off to two wars and had experienced the economic hardships caused by rationing of food, gas, clothes, and shoes. I was raised by my grandmother (Mama) and grandfather (Papa) on a farm from the time I came home from St. Eugene hospital until I joined the Naval Reserves at 17 years of age. Yes, I wanted to get away from the work on the farm such as suckering tobacco, busting middles with a mule, and hoeing cotton. Yet, there were other things I enjoyed…home cooked meals with vegetables from our garden, hunting, fishing, swimming in the river, going to Dillon to see a parade with marching bands, assortment of floats, fire trucks, army tanks, and soldiers parading in formation led by the American flag. On the way home, “Mama” would always stress its importance by explaining “the stars represent the states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies, the blue background represents perseverance (“Never give up”), the white stripes represent purity (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), and the red stripes represent the bravery and blood of all veterans who bled and gave their lives for our great country!” She was an avid reader of the Bible and made sure I prayed every night with her, on our knees beside my bed. One time when I was very little, I heard her pray “Lord, I know he will fall, but please don’t let him fall too hard so that he can’t get up.” (Psalms 37:24). I interrupted her prayer and said, “Mama, I can climb every tree in this yard, I ain’t never fell and I ain’t gunna fall.” In living 72 years on this earth, I now understand what she meant because I have fallen many times and it was only by God’s mercy, grace, and strength, that I was able to get up again! She helped me memorize Bible verses, played the piano and taught me the words to the songs “God Bless America” and our national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner”.
I recently read a quote that stated, “Our flag doesn’t fly because the wind moves it, but because of the last breath taken by all veterans that have given their lives protecting it”. Please take a breath and remember the “last breath of over 2 million veterans”. A Greek philosopher Thucyclides once said, “the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike and yet, notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
Personally, I have found comfort in God’s hold word, the Bible in the following words and pray they may comfort you, the families who have lost a loved one that made the supreme sacrifice for us and our country: David wrote in Psalms 23, “The lord is my shepherd, I shall not wants. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still water. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and they staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.”
Paul wrote in II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” But God…But the phrase that I have used many times and continue to use everyday is simply “help me Jesus”.
In closing, I humbly say thank you for your attendance today, especially to those who have lost a family member in any of our wars or conflicts. But God…but we all can also rejoice on this memorial day in the fact that our country, the United States of America, is the truest democracy in all the world with a construction and amendments that guarantees our freedoms…, Why?
Because of the ultimate sacrifices of our veterans, their families and God’s grace! Let us never forget “All gave some, but some gave all” which I believe applies to every military member who makes the ultimate sacrifice whether in wartime or in peacetime.
Please remember God’s answer to Solomon’s prayer for his country, which I believe would be God’s answer for our country today II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
May God bless all veterans, their families, all current military members and their families everywhere and may God bless all of you here today. May God bless our flag and what it represents. May God continue to have mercy, shed his grace upon us, and continue to bless the United States of America