NEWBERRY – Newberry County gathered together Sunday afternoon to recognize veterans of all wars from all branches of service. The ceremony was sponsored by the American Legion, the City of Newberry and Newberry County.
“Both in peacetime and in conflict, we want to honor you,” said Henry Brooks, commander of American Legion Post 24.
Brooks ended his greeting by sharing with the community a phrase that had always meant a lot to him, “All gave some, some gave all.”
Eugene Wilson, commander of American Legion Post 219 thanked God that the community was able to come together to honor veterans and try to remember what they gave to us.
“We are so blessed here in the United States of America,” Wilson said. “We go places, do the things we want and some people just don’t even have an idea of what a veteran goes through – the giving of his life, his family. We just thank God so much for our veterans.”
Ceremony speaker, David Parnell, director of Newberry County Veterans Affairs Office reminded the community that Memorial Day was set aside for one reason – to honor and remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
“Memorial Day is a day that’s set aside to honor all of our heroes who have sacrificed their lives for you and I,” Parnell said. “They love this country and all of the differences we have and know that this is the best country in the world.”
Parnell recalled the monuments that are downtown in Memorial Park and surrounding areas with names engraved on them saying that as people go on with their everyday lives and pass by the square, they probably don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them as it is something they see daily.
“We need to stop and take the time sometime to remember these people and that their names are on these monuments because they are soldiers and sailors and marines and others from Newberry County who have served this county, lived in this county and gave up their lives for this county,” Parnell said.
Parnell encouraged the community to look upon the names on these monuments as individuals who have sacrificed. These individuals gave up a lot including the right to see their families, the right to have a family, to have a full life and to enjoy what we have for ourselves, he said.
“As we go about our busy holiday weekend and we have our barbecues, our beach trips, our shopping and all this good stuff and maybe just relaxing for a change, let’s not forget the reason why we have the freedoms to do the things we do,” Parnell said.
During the past year and through May 18, 2018, there have been 83 veterans from Newberry County that have passed away. Names of those veterans, the wars in which they served and dates of death were recorded by Parnell and read allowed in remembrance Sunday.
Those Missing in Action and Prisoners of War were also recognized Sunday through a ceremony given by Isiah Wilson, American Legion Post 219 and Claude Bates, American Legion Post 24.
The remembrance was given through the setup of a small table set for one, Wilson said that was a place of dignity and honor. The table serves as a focal point of ceremonial remembrance for Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.
The ceremony concluded Sunday with the playing of Taps by Carlton Kinard and a benediction given by Eugene Coleman, American Legion Post 19.
Also participating in the service were the Newberry Junior ROTC, Tracy Swygert with the singing of the national them and Barbara Ellis with “God Bless America.”