Veterans honored at Memorial Day service

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Over 1 million veterans have given the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation's freedom. Veterans Day ceremonies across the country commemorated not only those that died, but those that continue to serve today as well.
The Dyer County Junior ROTC squad presents the colors at the start of the Memorial Day service. Memorial Day was recognized as an official holiday in 1968. It originally began as Decoration Day to honor those that died during the Civil War.

Across the nation communities gathered to honor our veterans and current members of the military in various Memorial Day services. Here, our own community gathered on the northeast side of the Dyer County Courthouse lawn on Monday morning to honor our local heroes and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"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.

George Mitchell was the keynote speaker for the ceremony sharing his experiences as a soldier in the U.S. Army during the war in Vietnam. Mitchell gave a moving address passionately expressing what a wonderful country we live in.

Mitchell spoke to those gathered of the great sacrifices military personnel and their families make to preserve our nation. He acknowledged that our country has its problems, but it is still a great nation and one that is looked to by other nations.

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

Information for this article was obtained through the Department of Defense website.

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