05/31/05 — County honors fallen heroes at holiday ceremony

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County honors fallen heroes at holiday ceremony

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 31, 2005 1:49 PM

Young people might not see Memorial Day as anything other than a chance for a long weekend, said the speaker at a ceremony held Monday at Wayne Community College.

But for those who have served their country, the day represents a chance to remember the sacrifices that have been made by others so that we can enjoy freedom, said Col. Leonard T. Coleman, commander of the 4th Mission Support Group at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"As you go out of here today, take a moment to think about those who have given their all for their country so we can enjoy the freedom we do today," he said. "If you see someone in the service, walk up to them and say, 'thank you.'"

Coleman, a 24-year veteran, is a former member of the Air Force aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds.

The ceremony was held in the Wayne Community College auditorium. About 50 people attended.

Gold Star Wife Barbara Newman and Gold Star Mother Isabel Carrasquillo placed a wreath in memory of the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

Michael Atkins, 14, sang a medley of the military branch songs. Brandon Jackson,13, played taps and Dr. Alan Armstrong of Mount Olive College played the bagpipes.

The master of ceremonies was Ray Swinson, president of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition, which sponsored the ceremony.

"We cannot say enough thanks to our veterans," he said. "And we can't say thanks enough for our fallen."

Bill Carr of Chapter 657 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart also urged residents to not forget the reason behind the holiday. "Call a veteran and thank them," he said.