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Memorial Day to honor heroes

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Jim Taylor said his thoughts about Memorial Day are he would like the public to realize the costs of their freedom.

"It's more than they think," Taylor said. "It's not just veterans that are killed or wounded."

Taylor spoke of the impact on mothers, fathers, spouses and children who lost their parents.

"A lot of people sacrifice for the freedoms of this country," he said. "Instead of thinking that Memorial Day is for hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill or going to the beach, remember their freedoms and why they have 'em."

Taylor is soon going to be stepping aside as commander of the Rocky Mount-based American Legion Post 58.

The Legion and other veteran groups in Nash and Edgecombe counties are set to have a Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial at Jack Laughery Park off North Church Street.

Taylor said retired Army Brigadier Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray is going to speak. Plans are to remember the late Pvt. 1st Class Hoover Jones, he said.

Jones was considered missing in action in the Korean War.

As a result of efforts by President Donald Trump, North Korean Communist dictator Kim Jong-Un in July released 55 coffins containing the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers. Jones’ remains were subsequently identified with the help of DNA and military and X-ray records.

"I wish everybody that was missing would be found," Taylor said. "That's why we fly the POW/MIA flag. We never forget."

Taylor said plans are also to remember retired Army Lt. Col. David O'Dea, who died on May 10 at age 76. O'Dea had been serving as the historian of Post 58.

Taylor said O'Dea not only was a close friend, "He was an outstanding man all around. Everything he did, he did to perfection. I never heard him speak a bad word about anybody.

"And he was a friend to every veteran he met," Taylor said. "Anybody that ever crossed paths with him in his life benefited from that."

Memorial Day in the U.S. honors those who died in the nation's wars.

Memorial Day ceremonies can be traced at least as far back as 1866, when a group of women in Columbus, Miss., decorated the graves of fallen Confederate and Union soldiers.

In the Twin Counties, Charles Minton is the commandant of the Cpl. Suzi Sannes Detachment 1262 of the Marine Corps League.

Minton works in facilities maintenance at the McLane food service facility off Meadowbrook Road.

Minton said every Friday morning prior to Memorial Day, he leads a brief ceremony at the flagpole in front of the McLane office.

He comes from a long line of family members who served in the military — a grandfather, his father and two uncles, all of whom are deceased.

Additionally, among his family, a daughter and a stepson served in the Marines, a son is presently serving in the Marines and a son is presently serving in the Navy.

"So we're a pretty patriotic family," he said.

"And it means a lot to me," he said of Memorial Day. "And I take time to reflect on those who went before me and the legacy of those that I carried on.

"Now that I am out of the military, I still want to honor them and do the best I can as a person."

In Nashville, plans call for a Memorial Day ceremony at 6 p.m. today, hosted by American Legion Post 110 at Forest Hills Cemetery off North First Street on the northeast side of town.

Post Commander James Ervin said while the ceremony is sponsored by Post 110, churches are involved as well.

"It's not just the town of Nashville," he said. "It's the Nash County area. So we're just trying to keep people's attention on the fact that a lot of people have given their lives for our country. And we just want to keep that going."

In case of rain, the ceremony is going to be shifted to the Nashville United Methodist Church Sanctuary at 209 E. Washington St.

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