All across our region, people took time today to remember soldiers who've paid the ultimate price. The gatherings are very personal for veterans who made it home. We attended one of those observances today at the Emma Kelly Theater in Statesboro, and it was an emotional time.
Everyone there knew they owed a debt to those who hadn't returned.
Donald Bullard sang along on every rousing patriotic number. But Memorial Day to him is a painful time to remember WWII comrades he lost in France.
"Back then, you could almost see where we wouldn't be free if it weren't for veterans," he said.
Readers called the names of Bulloch Countians as far back as the Revolutionary War who'd given their lives for their country.
Kim Mikell of Statesboro read the list of Korean War casualties with a gratitude she didn't understand until a trip to Arlington a few years ago. "I was humbled to realize how many Americans gave their lives, not just for freedom in this country but the freedom for people all over the world."
Chaplain Capt. Kevin Sears told the group Memorial Day is notifying a Army widow or counseling soldiers who've lost one of their own. "I told them that Memorial Day would never be a three-day weekend again. It would forever more mean something to them."
Whether they serve today or served yesterday, those gathered agreed they should never forget.
This is the first Memorial Day for the Emma Kelly Theater to be open and to host the observance. To show their gratitude, the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a flag for use on the stage to further remember those who gave their all.