Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day service honors veterans, hears from Luallen

The annual Memorial Day service at the Midway Cemetery "was probably the most meaningful one we have had," Mayor Tom Bozarth said, because the crowd was large and 40 names were recently added to the monument. City Council Member Sharon Turner, the event's chief organizer, said the weather was perfect: sunny, mild and not a cloud in the sky.

After Boy Scouts from Troop 40 raised the flags, the Midway Children's Choir, directed by Melissa Askew, sang "America," Bozarth introduced former state Auditor Crit Luallen by noting her many official posts and concluding, "That's quite a resume for someone who could be governor" in 2015.

Luallen, left, noted her family history in the area, including two nephews of a Crittenden ancestor who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War, and said "Every family has its own heroes." She said those stories should be passed on to young people who may be disconnected from history "so those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to use Lincoln's words from Gettysburg, will not have died in vain."

Luallen mentioned a little-known fact, that the first Memorial Day service was held in 1865 by freed slaves in Charleston, S.C., to honor 257 Union soldiers who died in the local Confederate prison camp. And she quoted the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, saying during his recent visit to Louisville that all religions "stimulate the practice of love and compassion," and those things as measn to end conflicts.

"The ultimate goal of man must be a world at peace," Luallen concluded, "and individuals with compassion in our heart must do what we can to achieve that peace."

Luallen said afterward that the part of the service she liked best was the individual recognition of veterans by family members in the crowd, which followed the children's choir singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Midway Magistrate Larry Craig walked through the crowd with a wireless microphone, gathering the recognitions. Air Force veteran Lonnie Adkins, right, made some extemporaneous remarks thanking the Midway Veterans Memorial Committee.

After City Council Member Aaron Hamilton, left, sang "How Great Thou Art," Turner thanked the participants and helpers, particularly the recently reinvigorated Midway Veterans Memorial Committee, which added the names to the monument and is raising money to expand it to recognize veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Midway Baptist Church Pastor Steve Hadden gave the benediction, and then the crowd enjoyed cookies and cold water under the sun.

For information on the Midway Veterans Memorial Committee and its efforts, click here.

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