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Despite lack of ceremonies, Memorial Day reflections continue

All was rather quiet on the home front on Memorial Day.

Only a few public services honoring those who gave their lives in service to their country were held. An early morning memorial service was held in Brundidge and a short morning service at Elam Cemetery in Barbour County. However, many churches throughout the county, honored those who gave their lives that this nation might live at Sunday services.

“The people of Pike County did not and do not forget those who willingly gave their lives so that we can live in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’” said Randy Ross, Pike County Veterans Affairs Office. “As I rode around the county on Monday, I took great pride in seeing the many American flags flying at half-staff and the impressive display of American Flags at Bicentennial Park and the stately display on Main Street in Brundidge. Pike County did not forget.”

Ross said Memorial Day is held annually on the last Monday in May and honors those who gave their lives defending freedom.

“We honor those fallen heroes, those men and women who were willing to give their all in service to their country,” Ross said. “We honor them —those who did not come home.

As the Pike County Veterans Affairs Officer, Ross is often reminded of the sacrifices made so that America can remain free.

“We know the death toll of the wars that America has fought,” he said. “We lost more than 400,000 members of our Greatest Generation in World War II and 58,000 in Vietnam. But those wars continue to have casualties today. Not in the loss of lives but in the quality of life for many of our veterans.”

Ross said those who serve in the military do become a “band of brothers.”

“Unless we have been there and actually experienced what it’s like to be on the front lines of war with death and dying all around, we can’t know what war is like,”  he said. “And to come home with those memories that you cannot forget. Those veterans are casualties of the war, too. Many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and others just keep in all inside. We must remember them, too.”

On Memorial Day, many people took advantage of the opening of the beaches to enjoy the holiday. “But we must never forget the men who died on the beaches of Normandy and other war-torn beaches,” he said. “They died so that we might enjoy the sand and surf on hundreds of holidays.   On this Memorial Day, we are involved in another war -against a deadly virus. Many Memorial Day services were canceled due to COVID-19 but I believe that Memorial Day was honored in a very personal way for those who have lost loved ones in military service and for many veterans who cannot forget the death and dying.”