Memorial Day observed in Columbia

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The telegram, nighttime phone call, or a military chaplain’s knock at the front door is how that most dreaded of all news arrives — your family has become a Gold Star family.

James Cahoon, mayor of Columbia and armed forces veteran, was principal speaker at the VFW’s annual Memorial Day observance in Columbia on May 26, and he described how the most dreaded news came to his family on Fathers Day 1969.

The car drove up out front at lunchtime, and the Army officers came to the door and knocked. Cahoon was 16 at the time. His father spoke with the men and returned to the dining room.

“We knew by the look on his face that something was terribly wrong. He said they told him his son Glynn was missing in action. Our mother was working on the Outer Banks, and Dad left immediately to tell her. A few days later we got the notice that Glynn was dead.

“He was my brother. We shared the same bedroom. He taught me to ride a bicycle, swim, play music. And suddenly he was gone.

“It’s been 50 years, and I still miss him, but I take comfort in remembering what he and all the others accomplished. Let’s never forget them and their sacrifices.”

Earlier in his remarks Cahoon reminded that some veterans “come home with scars, physical and otherwise. Some will heal, some never will, and they must be remembered too.”

“Today we honor those who did not return, but they all placed themselves in danger to protect those they left behind, the people close to them.”

Inscribed on the memorial on the courthouse lawn are 36 names of Tyrrell men who did not return, Cahoon said.

The 8 a.m. observance, conducted by the Glynn T. Cahoon Post 10659 opened with welcoming remarks by post commander Dallas Simmons.

Richard Edwards, Columbia High School band director, sang the national anthem; Elmo Hassell and Billie Ray Hill posted the colors, which was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Veterans and Gold Star family members were recognized and applauded.

Following Cahoon’s speech members of Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 86 laid a wreath in memory of the fallen. Edwards played Taps, and Walter Davenport prayed the benediction.

About 40 people attended.