As reported in the Athens Banner-Herald, there were two-hundred and thirty-two veterans that were remembered for their service and sacrifice this past Sunday during the Clarke County Veterans Council’s annual Memorial Day program at Evergreen Memorial Park in Athens.
For the last 100 years, the tradition of remembering deceased veterans with a roll call was honored for the Athens area servicemen and women who served in wars going as far back as World War II and that have died since May 1, 2016.
“Everything that we get in life that’s worth anything has a cost to it,” Veterans Council Chaplain Ray Fairman, a U.S. Marines veteran, told the newspaper. “The cost for our country’s freedoms and liberties and justice is always paid in the blood of young men. This is a day for the people who didn’t make it back.”
For other veterans who attended, the ceremony is a way to continue the legacies of their fallen comrades.
“I lost guys in Vietnam,” said Michael Ginn, commander of the state-wide AMVETS organization and of AMVETS Post 10 in Athens. “This is my way to make sure they aren’t forgotten.”
A U.S. Army veteran, Ginn said that it took him nearly twenty years after leaving active duty to get involved with veterans’ organizations.
“I wanted to put Vietnam behind me,” he said. “But I know now that the way to do that is to honor these men and women’s sacrifice.”
For others, hearing the name of a loved one during the roll call is a new experience that causes mixed emotions.
“I’m happy and sad,” said Marty Chambers, whose husband, Alfred Chambers, was a veteran of World War II and Korea and passed away in 2016.
“I’m sad he’s not with us anymore, but I’m so happy to see him honored. He won’t be forgotten.”
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