Memorial Day Observed at Springfield's Veterans Park

It's much more than just another day off. Memorial Day's a chance to honor and remember the men and women who died fighting for our freedom. And what better place than at a park designed solely to honor veterans?

Last night, people filled the Veterans Park near Springfield in Effingham County. Everywhere you looked, there were people decked out in red, white and blue, all to honor the people who normally wear camouflage.

"It's amazing to me the number of people that come up to me and volunteer to be able to do something for the park without you asking," said the park's Ruth Lee. "Of course I'm not bashful about asking if you need some help."

Several hundred people from Effingham County packed into Veterans Park, to honor those who fought and died for America.

"Our freedom is not free," said Army Sgt. James Sapp (ret.). "It's been paid for with a price."

"This is what Memorial Day is all about," said US Rep. John Barrow (D-GA Dist. 12).

"This is one of the greatest things I've ever done in my life and I don't think I could have done anything better than to help build this place," said Sapp.

Part of the ceremony was a tribute to Effingham County's own National Guard unit, the Alpha Battery, serving overseas right now. Alpha Battery has made it into Iraq to its destination. Everyone's made it safely. Morale is high. They're ready to get on with their mission.

"There are a lot of people who think we've got problems in this country with a generation that's coming up that doesn't appreciate, doesn't love this country," said Barrow. "To those people I say come here to Springfield, to Effingham County."

Veterans Park has grown somewhat of a life of its own. It's sprawling memorials let people wander all over, looking at the names of people from the area who've fought and died going all the way back to the Revolutionary War.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,