Citizens pay tribute on Memorial Day

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On a day where, across the nation, America’s greatest heroes were honored, a few hundred Roanoke-Chowan area citizens paused to pay homage to Memorial Day.

In Ahoskie, roughly 50 people gathered at No Man’s Land Park on Main Street to hear Rev. William Reed reflect on the sacrifices made by America’s military personnel.

&uot;We hate to lose our sons and daughters in these conflicts of war, but they are protecting our freedom, here in our great nation and all over the world,&uot; said Rev. Reed, a member of Ahoskie American Legion Post 102 who hosted the event.

He continued, &uot;They are protecting us today as well as the future freedom of our children and grandchildren. No, freedom is not free. It comes at a cost, one of human sacrifice.&uot;

Linda Meeks, a member of the Post 102 Ladies Auxiliary, said she will forever remember the sacrifices made by the men and women who proudly wear the colors of America’s military forces.

&uot;It’s because of those who made the sacrifices, laid down their lives in protecting this country, that we are gathered freely here today, to freely attend church yesterday and to enjoy life in freedom&uot; Meeks said.

Post 102 Commander John Bracy conducted the brief, 20-minute service, one that ended with the traditional playing of &uot;Taps&uot; by Post 102 member Reggie Faust.

Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn reminded the crowd that brick pavers are currently on sale for No Man’s Land Park. Both the town and Post 102 are conducting fundraisers through the sale of the pavers.

Over in Jackson, Northampton County held their annual Memorial Day service on Monday morning where a crowd gathered at the County Courthouse to pay tribute to those who served their country.

More than 150 people turned out for the event, which featured Matthew L. Delk, an Iraqi war veteran. Captain Delk, who serves as Halifax County Manager and is a native of Roanoke Rapids, was hosted by Northampton County Veterans Service Officer Charles Youse.

Delk received a Purple Heart for his involvement in Iraq, as he was badly burnt when his four-vehicle convoy was struck by an explosive device.

He helped remove casualties from the burning vehicles and administered first aid. He instructed the other soldiers to set up security and fend off insurgents.

Delk, who is now recovered from his injuries, said that he sometimes wonders why God spared him and not the others who perished in the attack.

The topic of his message was freedom and how the nation and the soldiers who represent the United States help define the word.

Delk concluded his message with a prayer offered up for the soldiers that are still fighting and the families of those soldiers who have passed away.

The message was followed by a laying of the wreath by Delk and Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins, accompanied by the Northampton County High School – East JROTC Honor Guard.

After Taps was played by Cadet Colonel Christopher Buffaloe and the benediction from Northampton County Board of Education member Lafayette Majette, Youse thanked the veterans at the event for their attendance and their sacrifices to their country and led the crowd in a rendition of God Bless America.