Legionnaires honor fallen comrades
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Monday, May 27, 2019
A slight drizzle late last week couldn't stop veterans with American Legion Post 58 from placing flags at the graves of fallen heroes laid to rest in Pineview Cemetery on Raleigh Road in Rocky Mount.
"A storm wouldn't stop us," said Jim Taylor, the local post commander.
The legionnaires place the flags every year for Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday set aside to remember and honor people who have died while serving in the military.
Taylor said it's an honor to honor those who died in service to their country.
"We have done this for a hundred years and will always do it," Taylor said. "They will never be forgotten."
Taylor served in the Navy as a radar man from 1969 to 1979 including a 1972-73 tour in Vietnam. The Pennsylvania native retired to the Twin Counties a few years ago after a career as a rural route Post Office mail carrier.
He said he used to think of the Legion as a place where old timers went to drink, but then he met local legionnaires who were passing out information outside Tractor Supply. Now he understands the camaraderie involved.
The Legion, which celebrated its centennial anniversary this year, is open to veterans who served in the nation's war eras.
Veterans who served honorably during the following eras are eligible to join:
■ Aug. 2, 1990, to today, Persian Gulf and War on Terrorism.
■ Dec. 20, 1989, to Jan. 31, 1990, Operation Just Cause in Panama.
■ Aug. 24, 1982, to July 31, 1984 Lebanon and Grenada.
■ Feb. 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, Vietnam.
■ June 25, 1950, to Jan. 31, 1955, Korea.
■ Dec. 7, 1941, to Dec. 31, 1946, World War II.
■ April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918, World War I.
Taylor stressed the time frame is the important element of service, not the geographical theatre.
Legionnaires have been working with Congress to get the membership guidelines expanded.
Taylor said Rocky Mount is a patriotic city, full of people who are thankful for and proud of veterans.
As a sign of respect for the sacrifices of armed services personnel, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Nash County native, ordered all U.S. and state flags at state facilities be flown at half-staff.
Cooper shared the following statement:
"I join all North Carolinians in sharing gratitude for those who served and died for our country. Today we honor them with the flag to express our deepest appreciation for their sacrifice and that of their families."