Memorial Day tributes and reflections - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Memorial Day tributes and reflections

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May 28, 2007

Albany -- Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer. It's a time for family get togethers and cookouts.

But of course it's also a day for us to remember and honor veterans who gave their lives in service to our country.

We know them as our neighbors, friends, and family members. They are the men and women who heroically served our country during times of war. Soldiers, sailors, Marines; generations of veterans who risked their lives alongside those who unfortunately lost their own.

Monday morning at an annual breakfast inside American Legion Post 30 in Albany, dozens of veterans and their families gathered to reflect on this day of remembrance for the servicemen and women who never made it home.

"Families have always paid homage to those who have served and gone before them.Yet our observation today is not about the who, but what we're celebrating and honoring," said keynote speaker Col. Kevin McCutcheon.

For retired Chaplin Charles Renner, Memorial Day recognizes those who left so bravely, and sacrificed it all.

"They're all gone now. Because they thought going to war was far more important than sitting at home and watching someone else pay the ultimate sacrifice."

Throughout the morning, the American Legion laid a wreath at the sites of local war memorials, honoring those who died defending our country.

Jean Wicker came to the grave site of her husband, a Korean War veteran. To her, Memorial Day has a special meaning.

"This is always about the good things and the bad things about life, so it is a memorial. We lose them, but we have them so long, and this is a special day for it."

Whether they fought in the fields of France or Germany in World War II, the jungles of Vietnam, or the current War in Iraq, their service and sacrifice has not been forgotten.

Rep. Sanford Bishop, who attended the American Legion ceremonies said, "It is always good for us as a country and a community to be able to reflect and to express our gratitude and pay homage to those who paid the price for the freedoms that we enjoy."

So in the midst of backyard barbeques and holiday relaxation, remember that Memorial Day symbolizes the honor and sacrifice of those who served in harms way, the ones who didn't make it back, and the freedom they fought and died for.

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