"We are the voice and eyes of those that cannot speak and see anymore," said Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill.
George Mitchell, who served as a radio operator for the U.S. Army during the war in Vietnam was the keynote speaker. In front of a large crowd, Mitchell recounted how he was drafted into the service, how he refused to be a draft dodger and how he believes the United States is the best country to be a citizen of.
"This country is worth fighting for," said Mitchell. He excused the grammatically incorrect but what he felt was true statement: "The price of freedom ain't free."
Mitchell reminded the crowd that Memorial Day was a Southern holiday, first celebrated by the women of the Confederacy. According to early historical accounts, Memorial Day was first observed as Decoration Day by Freedmen in Charleston, S.C. in 1865. The former Southern black slaves wanted to remember the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. However, it was not until Maj. Gen. John Logan of New York declared in 1868 that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30 that the holiday received nationwide attention. The name for May 30 changed gradually from Decoration Day to Memorial Day over the years. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.
The service was a community effort with city of Dyersburg Mayor John Holden starting the morning with the invocation, which was followed by County Roads Superintendent Jeff Jones singing the national anthem. The Dyer County Junior ROTC squad presented and retired the colors with Will Armor playing taps. The benediction was given by Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 1972 Commander George Winters. The event was sponsored by the VFW, American Legion Post No. 191, American Legion Post No. 30 and DAV Chapter 46.
For more photos on this event please visit http://www.stategazette.com/gallery.
Information for this article was obtained through the Department of Defense website.