Local Legion Post observes Memorial Day

Published 9:56 am Thursday, May 29, 2014

AHOSKIE – On Monday, as a nation celebrated those men and women who have sacrificed life and limb at home and abroad, many took the time to how grateful we all should be for the sacrifices they have made.

As they’ve done in prior years, Hertford County American Legion Post 102 held their special “Memorial Day at No Man’s Land” at the little park located on the corner of Main and Railroad streets in Ahoskie that honors fallen service men and women.

William Bazemore, 86, was the oldest Legionnaire attending Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in Ahoskie. Staff Photo by Gene Motley

William Bazemore, 86, was the oldest Legionnaire attending Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony in Ahoskie. Staff Photo by Gene Motley

“This is something that grew out of the Civil War, the bloody conflicts of the World Wars,” said Post commander Aubrey Vinson.  “We need to remember those who fought for us, those who were wounded and died.”

If you gaze at the brickyard décor of No Man’s Land you notice commemorative bricks in honor of veteran solider, sailors, airmen, and Marines from the region.

“That’s one of the things Post 102 has in conjunction with the town of Ahoskie,” Vinson continued.

Monday’s ceremony followed as many others had in the past on Memorial Day.  Post vice-commander James Hutchinson sang the National Anthem followed by prayer from Post chaplain, Rev. William Reid.  Hutchinson then returned to the podium for a stirring rendition of the gospel hymn, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”.

Guest speaker for the event was local businessman, Hertford County Commissioner and Fifth District state General Assembly candidate Howard Hunter, III.  Hunter spoke first in tribute to America’s military might.

“I have great respect for the men and women who proudly serve our country in one of the five branches of the military,” Hunter intoned.  “They are trained to be the best and we all know, for our military second-best is not an option.”

Hunter also told the assembled group of some 70 participants that Memorial Day should also be a solemn day of appreciation, reverence, and remembrance.

“We mourn the loss of those who selfishly gave their lives as fallen heroes around the world,” Hunter contended. “We honor the many other veterans who live among us as wounded warriors.  Their actions, their service, their commitment allows us to be who we are and to enjoy the lives we enjoy.”

Hunter closed his remarks by reflecting on the patriarch of his own family, his grandfather Howard Hunter, Sr., a worthy veteran of World War II, who proudly served the red-white-and-blue.

“He made our family who we are, and helped make this country what it is,” Hunter maintained. “He lived his post-war years loving his family; and while he fought in a long and tumultuous war, he lived for peace…as is the ultimate mission for all servicemen and women.”

Evelyn Rawls of the post’s Legion Auxiliary did a short tribute to all who served and are no longer alive. As has been her tradition, she recited the lyrics of several patriotic poems.  The first of which were the words to country singer Lee Greenwood’s stirring and powerful, “Proud To Be An American”.

“Every time I hear that sung it really brings tears to my eyes,” Rawls said. “It’s because of those who have died before us that we have this freedom.”

Rawls and other Auxiliary volunteers had passed out the commemorative red poppies, contributions for which go to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans.  She closed her short presentation with another poem, “In Flanders Field” by Lt. Col. John McRae.

“Be proud to be an American today,” she declared.

Reid then returned to remember and honor five Post 102 members Elijah Vaughan, John Mizelle, Walter Craig, Roosevelt Askew, and Eddie Parker, all of whom passed away since the last Memorial Day in 2013.

“They are probably looking down upon us today and saying ‘well done’,” the chaplain said.

The program ended with Jasmine Monger of the Hertford County High School Band playing the somber bugle version of ‘Taps’ and the traditional moment of silence.