Monday, May 26, 2014
They were fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters. Their backgrounds were different; their stories as unique as the country they served.
But on the battlefield, those differences faded, and a common love for their country was all that mattered. They were American soldiers. They served their nation, and they made the ultimate sacrifice for its cause.
And on Monday, they were remembered.
As a bell chimed solemnly at Monday afternoon’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Carolina Memorial Funeral Chapel in North Charleston, the soft sound of crying filled the pews, as the fallen heroes of the U.S. Armed Forces were honored in the annual ceremony sponsored by American Legion Post 166 and Fleet Reserve Association Branch 50.
“We remember those who are no longer with us,” featured speaker and past Post 166 Commander Rick Bernard said, “ because they sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
Bernard’s words were heard by a rapt audience that filled the pews of the small chapel at Carolina Memorial Gardens, where every headstone was adorned with an American Flag.
Bernard reminded the attendees that America’s wars are not limited to the history books.
“We continue to lose American heroes every day in Afghanistan …” he said. “Some are only teenagers; most are under the age of 25.
“In the eyes of their loved ones, they are forever young.”
Since the Revolutionary War, over 1 million Americans have died on the battlefield. Their absence affects many, Bernard said, and it is up to Americans from all walks of life to be there to support the families of the fallen.
“There are children missing a parent, spouses without their partner, parents left to grieve,” he said. “We need to be there for them … with the assurance that their loved one’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.
“Americans must remember that freedom isn’t free. In fact, it’s only possible because our heroes have paid the ultimate price.”
Monday’s ceremony included a ceremonial salute by the American Legion Honor Guard, the Placing of the Wreath, and a Two-Bell Ceremony with the reading of the names of soldiers who have died in the past year.
A reception followed the event at Post 166 in Goose Creek.