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Army veteran speaks at American Legion Post 104 Memorial Day service

Times-Virginian - 6/1/2018

Memorial Day is often confused with Veteran's Day, which is a day set aside for Americans to thank all military members; retired and active, for their service.

Memorial Day, however, is a day set apart to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; those who lost their lives while serving in the line of duty.

The freedoms that Americans hold so dear have come at a cost. It is because of the brave men and women in the military, who work diligently to protect those freedoms, that the United States citizens are able to have many freedoms that those in other parts of the world do not.

On Monday, May 28, the event room at the Appomattox American Legion Post 104 building was packed full, with every seat filled, and guests standing along the walls to commemorate this special day.

The ceremony began with a welcome from Post 104 Public Information Officer Howard Gregory and an invocation prayer by Chaplain Rev. John Muth, followed by everyone standing for the national anthem and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

A special recognition of all guest dignitaries as well as veterans from WWI and the Korean War.

Buck Owen, of Post 104, announced that 2019 will mark the centennial since the beginning of the American Legion. Owen said to expect several different celebrations over the next 18 months, until November 2019, which is when the actual anniversary will take place. He also explained that the Appomattox Post is a centennial post, since the Post in Appomattox was created in 1919 as well.

American Legion Auxiliary Unity 104 President Linda Mays and Sally Walker from Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 9855 brought the wreath to the front podium for the annual Placement of the Wreath.

A reading of names of those who had died during their service, from Appomattox was presented by Howard Gregory, and was followed by a musical medley of all armed services anthems. Those who had served in each branch stood while their branch's song played.

The guest speaker for the event was Warrant Officer Donald P. Childs, who is retired from the Army and also served in the Virginia State Police. Many may remember Childs as the officer who's helicopter was shot down in Appomattox in 2010 during a horrific shooting incident.

Childs told several stories of men and women who served and were killed during their service. He reminded the crowd that not everybody chose to serve, and the some were drafted without choice. The stories he gave reminded the guests that Memorial Day is commemorated each year to honor the real people who died protecting freedoms, and their real stories.

Afterward, the guests were invited outside for a presentation of the Post's recently rebuilt WWI canon, and a solemn playing ofTaps by Post 104 Bugler Avery Dalton.

Post 104 members are currently trying to raise funds to build a shelter for their canon. They are doing so by selling raffle tickets, with the grand prize being $2,000 cash. If you would like to honor local veterans through a donation of by purchasing a raffle ticket, call 434-352-7437.


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