Service and sacrifice honored in Southwest GA - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Service and sacrifice honored in Southwest GA

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Veterans, families, and residents spent Memorial Day honoring fallen military members across the country.

In Lee County, many gathered with songs and prayer to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. One of those was killed in the line of duty one year ago.

The solemn, solo of Taps echoed throughout downtown Leesburg Monday morning, as residents shared in the event honoring our nation's heroes.

"Remember all those that have went before us and those that we've lost on the battlefield," says veteran Ernie Elmore, a Chaplain with the Marine Corps League. "That's our real heroes, those out there."

Marine Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton was one of those heroes honored during the ceremony, who was killed serving in Afghanistan on May 26, 2012. A statue now stands in memory of the Lee County High School graduate.

American Legion Post 182 hosted Monday's event with lots of music and speeches at Stovall Yeoman Park, aiming to secure Memorial Day's powerful message.

Elmore says the national holiday can be clouded by big sales and food. "They really forget what Memorial Day is. It's not to be selling couches and cars and what have you, or having big special sales. It's to take time and remember how our country was founded and what our country stands for."

"Every other freedom that we enjoy has been paid for in blood," reminds Incoming Commander Denzil Harrell of American Legion Post 182. "The government doesn't give us our freedom, freedom is earned."

Elmore, who joined the Marine Corps in 1953 and fought in Vietnam says while they may no longer wear uniforms, their hearts are still in the service each and every day.

"We still have the desire to serve our country in any capacity we can. Whatever they call us to do. We never give up, we never quit."

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