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Memorial Day services held at Alabama National Cemetery – Shelby County Reporter

Memorial Day services held at the Alabama National Cemetery

Published 2:44 PM Wednesday, May 29, 2024

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Veterans, volunteers and members of the public all gathered on the hallowed fields of the Alabama National Cemetery on Monday, May 27. Attendees observed the sacrifices made by the United States Armed Forces and offered their thanks as part of the cemetery’s 16th annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Held in the Main Flag Assembly area of ​​the cemetery, attendees gathered at 10:30 a.m. and were greeted by patriotic music performed by Homeland and a military flyover demonstrated by the Patriot Flyers. Those opening displays were further accompanied by a flag line in the procession, manned by the Patriot Guard and the American Legion Riders.

Bailyn Murphy, winner of the District 21 and 2nd Division levels of the American Legion Oratorical Contest, served as master of ceremonies for the event and provided welcome remarks to all attendees. Murphy, who represented AL Post 911 of the American Legion, is a junior at Hoover High School and recently took second place at the ALOC state level.

Civil Air Patrol cadet members further served the ceremony as the color guard performing the presentation of the colors while the national anthem was performed by Miss Alabama Brianna Burrell.

mgr. David Burford, retired US Army, delivered the keynote address at the service which featured multiple ceremonial wreath laying performed by family members of military heroes buried at the Alabama National Cemetery – many of whom were Gold Star family members whose loved ones were killed in battle .

In addition to all six branches of the U.S. military, wreaths were also presented for American prisoners of war and missing in action, as well as for the American Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. organizations.

“Freedom is not free, and we owe honor to both the heroes who sacrificed their lives to win and preserve our freedom and to their families for their sacrifice,” said ALNC Executive Director Deborah Kendrick.

The ceremony then entered its final stages with a blessing from Duke Martin and a gun salute delivered by the US Air Force Honor Guard from Maxwell Air Force Base.

Patrick McCaghren, a member of the US Navy Veteran and Bugles Across America-Alabama, played taps at the end of the event, which was written afterward by a cannon salute fired by the Alabama Division of Re-enactors.

“(I am) forever grateful for the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said State Rep. Kenneth Paschal. “We will never forget.”

A flag-placing ceremony also took place on the grounds two days prior to the ceremony, with hundreds of community members spending their time planting American flags along monuments and the rows of white headstones. Members of the youth community were especially involved in the process with child volunteers and scout troop members from the surrounding communities all participating in the mission to honor America’s soldiers.

“Coordinated by the Alabama National Cemetery Support Committee, more than 11,000 flags were placed to commemorate those who sacrificed for our freedom,” Paschal said. “It was inspiring to see so many volunteers, especially youth, participating. Their involvement underscores the importance of educating the next generation to honor the fallen.”

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