“For those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, they did it first for the brother and sister beside them, their brothers and sisters at home. Their parents, their children, their neighbors, all those that they left behind to fight for a cause and country. This selfless sacrifice is what makes America so great. God has blessed this great nation because of brave men and women’s willingness to serve, not for a monarch or a dictator but for the freedom of us all,” said Wesley Carter, special speaker at Sunday’s annual Memorial Day program held in King at Central Park.
Carter recalled how he, like thousands of others, joined the Marines after the attack on September 11.
Since then, approximately 7,000 men and women have given their lives for our freedom and that happens to be the population of King, Carter said.
“That means for every man, woman, boy and girl in this city there is a substitute for their freedom. That doesn’t even begin to account for the thousands who have given their lives in the Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War, World War II, World War I and all the other conflicts in our history.”
As Carter spoke in front of the city’s Veteran’s Memorial, constructed in the shape of a pentagon honoring the five branches – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard, he said he wished there was time to read every name engraved on blocks representing those in the community who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“These names are not just words carved on a stone, but they are our grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters and our sons and daughters. The next time you come to this beautiful memorial take a moment to read the names captured here. Think about the families that these great names represent.”
Carter told the crowd he was reminded of a young man Ronald Reagan once spoke of named Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small town, much like King, in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.
On his body, a diary was found. He had written, “America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
Carter challenged those who attended on Sunday to celebrate the weekend with family and friends, but never forget the ultimate sacrifice that was paid.
“May we tell others their names and their stories.”
Memorial Day Service in Danbury
Clint Johnson, author of 11 Civil War books, spoke on the importance of Civil War monuments on Sunday afternoon in a Memorial Day service held at the old Courthouse in Danbury.
Sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1540, Stokes County men and women who have given their lives for our country were recognized for their valor and service.
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.