Valdosta remembers the fallen service men and women - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta remembers the fallen service men and women

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

In Valdosta, a Memorial Day service was held at Sunset Hill Cemetery.

More than 200 were on hand to honor the men and women who died serving our country.

Some at the service lost children, spouses, and friends fighting for our freedom.

The Honor Guard Rifle Team from Moody Air Force Base performs the 21 Gun Salute. Tears streamed down an Air Force colonel's face as he recalls airmen who lost their lives. Charles Stewart was among the more than 200 people at Monday's ceremony.

"I had a lot of buddies that were killed, a lot of friends from Valdosta that got killed in the service," said Stewart.

He worked on ships in the Navy during world war II, laying cables for atomic bomb tests.

 "Everytime I see something on the TV about servicemen getting killed, blowed up, hit by a land mine, it brings back a lot of memories," said Stewart.

Colonel Richert said as of Thursday 1,226 airmen are currently deployed in Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. Richert says an additional 183 from his unit boarded a plane Friday bound for Iraq.

These American flags at Sunset Hill Cemetary mark the graves of those service men and woman who died.

"I love military and their families and I like to do anything I can to support them," said Jessica Culpepper.

She's not military herself but she's a big supporter and even writes strangers.

When she saw the news of missing soldier on television named Matt Maupin, she tracked down his mother and started writing her.

"He came back in 2008 to Ohio and that's where he's resting," said Culpepper.

So remember the bravery of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Colonel Randall J. Riechert, the Commander of the 820th Base Defense Group, says 27 more airmen leave for Afghanistan Wednesday.

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