Patriotism will be on full display next Monday when the city of Mount Airy presents its annual Memorial Day program.
“You have to remember what this day is truly all about,” Mayor Deborah Cochran said Monday of the reason for the holiday.
While some might view Memorial Day as a three-day weekend for cookouts and activities surrounding its designation as the start of the summer travel season, it is meant to honor those who’ve made the supreme sacrifice.
“Memorial Day is a day when we pause to give thanks to our military heroes who have fought for the things that we have,” the mayor said.
It will be observed here during an 11 a.m. event at the city’s war memorial at the corner of South Main and Rockford streets, which the public is urged to attend. The program will include special music, remarks and ceremonial activities including a rifle volley salute.
Cochran referred to a new country music song by Keith Urban, “For You,” which she believes captures the ideals behind Memorial Day from a soldier’s point of view. Its lyrics include “You don’t think about right. You don’t think about wrong. You just do what you gotta do…to defend your own.”
Brown To Speak
Dean Brown, a member of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners, will deliver the keynote speech during Monday’s city government-sponsored event at the war memorial.
However, Brown said Monday that for purposes of the program, he would prefer to be known as just a citizen who is addressing how military involvement has affected his family.
“I had 15 uncles who served in wars,” Brown said. One was Gilmer Horton, the first man from this city to volunteer for World War II.
Brown, a retired educator who also is a historian and author, said he was inspired to dig for information about his relatives who served after last year’s Memorial Day program that was heavily attended. “Actually, I’ve been doing research on it for a whole year.”
Of the 15 uncles, one was killed in combat and others died as a result of their service, after leaving the military.
“I’m going to recognize them,” Brown said of his presentation on Monday, which will include photographs. He indicated that his uncles are representative of many others who have put their lives on hold to serve America.
Mayor Cochran will call the program to order, with a presentation of colors scheduled by the city Honor Guard.
That will lead to the singing of the national anthem by Elizabeth Martin, just before the colors are posted by the Honor Guard.
Commissioner Shirley Brinkley will deliver the invocation, and the mayor is to read a proclamation in honor of Memorial Day. Cochran also will give special recognition to memorial Honor Guards that attend funerals of veterans and special events.
That will lead up to the remarks by Brown and later the placing of a wreath at the monument to Surry County’s war dead by the city Honor Guard.
Martin then is scheduled to sing “God Bless America” and the rifle volley salute will be given by the memorial Honor Guards of Mount Airy Post 2019 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Pilot Mountain VFW Post 9436.
Those groups also will play “Taps,” with the program to conclude with the withdrawal of colors by the city Honor Guard.
“We just encourage everyone to come out for this moving ceremony,” the mayor said of the day of remembrance.
“Everyone is welcome,” Brown emphasized.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.