Memorial Day salute!

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MURFREESBORO – The Town of Murfreesboro hosted their annual remembrance ceremony to honor fallen soldiers on Monday, May 29.

Captain James Dilday (foreground, left) of the Murfreesboro Police Department hands the carefully folded American Flag to Police Chief David Griffith during Monday’s Memorial Day event. Also shown is Murfreesboro Police Sergeant Bryan Johnson (background). Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

Those in attendance at the Memorial Day event gathered at town’s War Veterans Memorial Monument, which is located in front of Town Hall. After an opening prayer from Mayor Pro-Tem Rev. Berna Stephens, the ceremony got underway.

Murfreesboro Mayor Hal Thomas, retired from the US Air Force, spoke to the crowd first about how to honor the flag, noting that the information was shared from the US Veterans Magazine.

The American flag, he said, means many things to many people.

“For some, it represents the solemn oath they took to defend the country and its citizens when they entered the military ranks,” Thomas began. “It can stand as a symbol of the freedoms and privileges we enjoy as Americans, and the sacrifices that have been made to ensure others have a change to pursue the same.

“To others, it is a poignant and sometimes painful reminder of those lost in battle, whether it is draped over a casket or carefully folded and placed into the arms of a loved one.

“Even for those who may see the flag as mere fabric and thread, it is inexorably linked to the spirit of our country. A red, white, and blue reflection of all that our country is, was, and will be,” he explained.

Thomas then spoke about the proper way to handle the flag.

Whether vertical or horizontal, the blue part of the flag should always be in the upper lefthand corner. The flag should not be flown in inclement weather, unless it’s an all-weather flag. It shouldn’t rest on the ground, nor should it be used as clothing. If flown on a pole with other flags, it should be at the top and larger than the others. It should be properly folded into a triangle with the blue part showing. And if damaged or tattered, the flag should be retired and properly disposed of.

Retired US Army Sgt. Larry Gaines played Taps as part of the Memorial Day ceremony on Monday in Murfreesboro. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

Though the flag is an important part of the town’s Memorial Day ceremony, Mayor Thomas also emphasized that the day is about honoring fallen soldiers.

“As long as we’ve been fighting, those who lost their life in battle were valiantly saluted by their remaining comrades,” he said. “This isn’t about those of us who served. We are veterans. This is about those who went and fought and did not return.”

“We need to always remember why we have the freedom to do this. Because somebody went out and gave their all so that we can keep on going,” he concluded.

Members of the Murfreesboro Police Department – Chief David Griffith, Captain James Dilday, and Sergeant Bryan Johnson – performed the ceremonial raising of the flags at the monument as the crowd looked on. Retired US Army Sgt. Larry Gaines played Taps during the solemn occasion.

Mayor Thomas and Chief Griffith then placed a wreath, which was donated by members of the town’s coffee club, in front of the monument in memory of Murfreesboro’s fallen soldiers.

Rev. Stephens concluded the event with a prayer of benediction.