Blairsville, GA – Memorial Day in America is a time of reverence, remembrance and reflection. Reverence for those brave souls who gave their lives defending us and reverence for the Principles they died for. Remembrance of their sacrifice so that we may never lose sight of the fact that freedom is not free. And reflection on how we Americans can carry on with the baton our fallen defenders have handed us.
On Saturday, May 27, 2017, following the Memorial Day Parade that morning through the middle of town in Blairsville, Union County, Rural America, GA, a Memorial Day Service was held at Veterans Memorial Park in front of the War Memorial in reverence, remembrance and reflection of those American Military Veterans who died in the service of their country: America.
There were about 100-125 attendees present at the ceremony, including Union County Sole Commissioner Lamar Paris, Blairsville Mayor Jim Conley and the widow of Major Leon Davenport, a true American hero. Chuck Honaker, veteran of the Iraq War, was the master of ceremonies. Keith Bragg, veteran, sang the American National Anthem and Bill Honaker, veteran of the Viet Nam War and father of Chuck Honaker, gave the invocation. Chuck Honaker called the Blairsville Honor Guard up to begin the ceremony with the Hoisting of the Colors: US Coast Guard, US Air Force, US Navy, US Marines, US Army, the State of Georgia and, occupying center stage, the United States of America. Accompanying the Hoisting was the Union County High School Band, which played the Service Songs and Hymns as each flag was raised. Following a short monologue and recognitions, Honaker introduced Major General Maria Britt, USA, Ret., keynote speaker and honored guest. General Britt’s message: freedom is not free; vigilance is necessary. After the Placing of the Wreath by Blairsville Boy Scout Troop 101 members and military veterans, the Blairsville Honor Guard closed the ceremony with a Seven-gun Salute and Retiring of the Colors.
It did not escape notice that most of the attendees were former or current military personnel. Not two blocks away there was a Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Festival in progress where hundreds, even thousands, of people were milling about. The whole reason for the holiday seems to have been missed by those Average American Joes; no comment, just sayin’.
Access a video of the Service: