City comes out to honor troops in ceremony

Residents donned their old uniforms, their best dress clothes or anything red, white and blue on Monday to pay tribute to the military men and women who died while serving their country.

At the Memorial Day ceremony at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta, the program noted the loss of 66 more veterans in the past year. For veterans still living and able to enjoy the light breeze on a clear Monday morning, there was the color guard from Fort Gordon and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band.

U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., the son of two World War II veterans, told the audience he was proud to see the day when Americans can hold opinions for or against a war but not take out their frustrations on those who volunteer to fight.

More than a million people have died in defense of the United States, Lt. Col. Nello Thomas III said. Memorial Day is one of the most important American holidays, which began with the decoration of graves of Civil War soldiers.

As Richmond Academy senior Chris Jackson sang the national anthem, servicemen raised the flags then brought them down to the half-staff position at the Veterans of All Wars Monument. Mr. Jackson's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner prompted the crowd to cheer him and his high school choir director.

Through the day's events, the servicemen and women still battling in Iraq and Afghanistan were remembered.

"We know they are in great danger ... we pray you protect them," said the Rev. Charles Beasley, a veteran, in a closing prayer during a ceremony at the Veterans of All Wars Monument.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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