Veterans applauded at Memorial Day ceremony on square
By Karen Hall
"We are so proud to have each and every one of you here today for this momentous occasion," said Larry Hastings at the beginning of the Memorial Day ceremony on the square in Lewisburg.
"We are here to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom," he continued.
One of Marshall County's last remaining World War II veterans, Edwin Scott, was seated with other dignitaries under a canopy."I don't know how we would operate the American Legion Post without him," said Hastings
Scott called for other WW II veterans to stand, and the crowd applauded them enthusiastically, applauding again when the veterans of all wars were asked to stand as well.
Sally Sain sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Scott led the Pledge of Allegiance.
American Legion Post Commander Paul Recker placed the empty chair for the prisoners of war and the missing in action, and said, "And may they never be forgotten."
The crowd joined Sain in singing "God Bless America," and then Hastings introduced guest speaker Drew Davidson.
Davidson was born 30 days before Pearl Harbor, in other words, in November 1941. He grew up in Marshall County, graduating from Marshall County High School in 1959. Davidson was called up for military service as a 20 year old, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant when he was 21. He also earned his wings as a paratrooper.
Davidson served three tours in Vietnam, and was decorated 75 times, including 14 with salutations of valor. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and two Purple Hearts.
Then, after this stellar career in the army, Davidson went to law school, graduating in 1991, when he was 50 years old. He is currently the oldest practicing member of the Marshall County Bar.
Applause and cheers greeted Davidson as he stepped to the podium.
He talked about the history of this special day in May, and how it started as Decoration Day after the Civil War. After WW II it became Memorial Day, and the last Monday in May was designated as the official date.
Many cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, Davidson said, but in 1966 President Johnson declared it was Waterloo, N.Y.
Veterans who gave their lives for their countries have been honored since the days of the ancient Greeks, and Davidson quoted from the funeral oration of Pericles, "For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men."
"God bless you all, and God bless America," Davidson concluded, and the applause was loud.
"That's from one of our real American heroes," exclaimed Hastings, and there was more applause.
Fresh wreaths were placed at the War Memorial by Tommy Spence, Hundley Ford Sr. and Mitchell Ford, Rick Roberts, Tim Cantwell, and Charlotte Dowd, and Jerry and Betsy Petty.
A benediction was followed by "Taps," and then Hastings said, "I thank each and every one of you for attending this ceremony today."
Everyone was invited to the VFW's traditional Memorial Day lunch.