Memorial Day speaker: Some things are worth dying for
FLORENCE, S.C. – Memorial Day is a day of reverence and awareness for those who died while serving the country, said the speaker at Florence’s 2019 ceremony.
“We bow,” Brig. Gen. Stephen Owens said. “We pause. We reflect the price paid to create and sustain this great county we call America.”
Several hundred people gathered Monday morning at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Florence National Cemetery.
Owens, the director of joint staff for the S.C. National Guard, said people have to fight for what they believe in, because not fighting would mean deserting those who need the greatest help.
“Some things are worth dying for,” Owens said. “We the living must never forget the personal courage and service to our nation. We the living must not let their stories fall silent so that future generations will know of these treasured heroes, and may we live up to the standards set for by those who gave us freedom and opportunity.”
During the ceremony, Breanna Young, a Wilson High School Tiger Production Choir member, sang the national anthem. Dane Morehead, chaplain of The Manor senior living community, gave the invocation.
U.S. Army Col. (retired) Barry Wingard, the master of ceremony, gave the opening remarks.
“Memorial Day is special,” Wingard said. “We recognize our veterans, but this day honors particularly those who died in the armed forces while serving and their families.”
Wingard held a moment of silence for Jim Williams and Dave Phillips, two veterans who died within the past year, and the two officers, Florence police Sgt. Terrance Carraway and Florence County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Farrah Turner, who died last year after an Oct. 3 shooting.
Williams was a U.S. Marine veteran who helped establish the Veterans Honor Guard and was active in Toys for Tots, Wingard said. Phillips was a U.S. Navy veteran who was instrumental in the group that helped start the Florence Veterans Park, Wingard said.
The ceremony ended with a 21-gun gun salute and taps conducted by the Veterans Honor Guard and cannon fire by the Pee Dee Light Artillery and Palmetto Battalion Re-enactors.
The Florence National Cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged honorably.