BRANDON — The theme of the annual Brandon Memorial Day service on Sunday was “Brandon Community Remembers.”
Many veterans in attendance spoke about what Memorial Day means to them and what it should mean to the country.
“What Memorial Day means to me is that all the veterans who served their country in all the wars are my comrades,” said local veteran Bob Smith. “That’s what it means to me. I love it and think we should honor them in any way possible.”
Teresa Shaw of Fredericktown had similar feelings about this day of remembrance.
“Memorial Day means to me is a way to pay homage and honor to our fallen soldiers,” she said. “We should dedicate some of our lives to them today.
“You’ve just got to bless them. We wouldn’t be free to worship in our churches and the other things if it wasn’t for them.”
The ceremony began with a parade from the Brandon Community Park to the cemetery at the Brandon Methodist Church. The parade stepped off at 1:30 p.m. Once the marchers and vehicles completed the trip, a brief ceremony was held in the cemetery at the unknown soldier’s gravesite.
A poem titled “To Those Who Served,” was read by Helen Noble and a prayer was led by veteran Dan Baker Sr. A rifle salute honoring those who had fought in battle and lost their lives was followed by “Taps.”
Following the brief ceremony in the cemetery a service was held inside the church.
After the pledge to the American flag and the Christian flag, the Rev. Rob Law of the Brandon Methodist Church led those in attendance with a prayer for those who have served and are still serving this country.
Rose Ernest read “That Ragged Old Flag” and the McManaway singers led the gathering in song.
The featured speaker for the ceremony was Kevin Henthorn, director of the Knox County Veterans Office.
Henthorn, who had never been in Brandon before remarked he never knew what a fantastic ceremony the community held to honor veterans.
“It really brings home why we do what we do,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us all to be on the same page when we honor our veterans.”
Henthorn then recounted the history of the Brandon ceremony.
“I received a little history on this,” he said. “It was in 1924, there was one Civil War veteran left here in town. His name was C.C. Baughman. He always took charge of the Memorial Day ceremonies. They had a van for flowers to be placed on the graves of soldiers. Eventually the whole town became involved.”
Henthorn reminded everyone just what Memorial Day means to this country.
“We have been once again thrust into a position of remembering those who have been serving and dying for this country even today,” he said. “To those who died securing peace and freedom, and to preserve our land and preserve our hope and our future, we owe our thanks and our honor.”