‘Freedom is not free’|Memorial Day honors those who died in military service

Published 10:19 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Managing Editor

For some veterans, the tears don’t flow until they hear the battle hymn — that song, that tribute to their particular branch of the military service.
That the melodies and associated words induce emotional responses was evident Monday during the Memorial Day service at Veterans Park in Washington.
The hymns, played during the service’s recognition to the different branches of the military, seemed to speak to the veterans and their families in a way that was profoundly moving.
The veterans — proud, reflective, somber — stood as each hymn played, for some, the moment most likely transporting them back to different times, different lands.
The one-hour service, conducted under threatening, overcast skies, offered other memorable moments, too.
Displaying the pomp and circumstance one would expect from the yearly dedications, Monday’s service included posting of colors, an invocation by Pastor Larry Lilley, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, patriotic songs by the barbershop quartet “Men n a Chord” and a Memorial Day prayer.
The service’s guest speaker, N.C. State Chaplain Frank Huffman, was at times somber and emotional, on several occasions holding back tears as he spoke about the hardships many veterans face after leaving military service.
But whatever their particular circumstances, the day belonged to the men and women who have given their lives in defense of freedom. As Melba Sayers, commander of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary No. 48, said Monday: “Lest we forget, freedom is not free.”