Monday ceremony salutes Northampton veterans

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 28, 2007

JACKSON – &uot;Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance,&uot; said Johnnie Byrum, Northampton County Veteran’s Service Officer at the Memorial Day celebration in front of the courthouse here Monday morning.

At the ceremony, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department posted the colors and the National Anthem was sung.

Steve Jackson, commander VFW and Merrell Gay from American Legion Post 111 performed the traditional laying of the wreath on the Veterans’ Memorial.

Veteran Henry Floyd Wright from Garysburg was the guest speaker at the celebration.

Wright said Memorial Day is a day of honoring and remembering the men and women who gave their tomorrows so that other American citizens can have today.

&uot;This is a national day of mourning.

Every veteran is worthy of memory,&uot; said Wright.

He posed the question, &uot;Do most non-veterans see importance of Memorial Day?&uot;

Wright said that all citizens should be aware and recall the deaths of fellow countrymen who died during wartime.

&uot;Many Americans take their freedom for granted, a freedom that was paid with by the lives of veterans,&uot; said Wright.

Wright said it is the civic obligation of American citizens to honor those men and women who died defending their country, whether by attending ceremonies, dedicating memorials, etc.

Wright joined the United States Army in 1950 and served with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment in the &uot;Intelligence and Reconnaissance Section&uot; during the Korean War.

On Christmas Eve 1950 during a major combat operation against the Chinese Communists in present day North Korea, Wright’s squad blocked the enemy and allowed larger American military units to pull back from annihilation.

According to Byrum, these courageous actions saved the lives of many American G.I.s.

Wright’s numerous prestigious awards include the Combat Infantry Badge and the Korean Service Award with four Bronze Service Stars (Campaigns).

Wright will soon receive a &uot;long overdue and much deserved&uot; Bronze Star with &uot;V&uot; Device, according to Byrum.

Byrum said that due to the turbulence of the war and the fighting, Wright never received the award, but it was discussed with Congressman G. K. Butterfield and was approved.

&uot;The price of liberty is a terrible price to pay, but it is a small price if the world can eventually be free. Thanks to veterans everywhere for preserving our freedom,&uot; said Byrum.