WAXHAW – Mayor Ron Pappas acknowledged Memorial Day usually ushers in the start of summer, but he stressed during the town’s virtual remembrance May 25 that the holiday is not about parties or vacation.
“It’s about reflecting on the past and expressing gratitude for the veterans whose lives have been lost while making the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” Pappas said.
Pappas encouraged the community to take advantage of that extra time at home to reach out to someone who has lost a loved one in the Armed Forces to let them know they’re being thought about. He also suggested explaining to children the meaning of Memorial Day and relating it to what they are learning in virtual classrooms.
“In March, we were called on as a nation to protect our country by doing nothing except staying at home,” Pappas said. “So many people viewed this as a major sacrifice and a heavy burden, and we understand that.
“This is nothing compared to what it means to be called to defend your country as a member of the Armed Services to put your life on the line, to defend our freedom, to lose friends who have become family on the battlefield, to send loved ones off to war because they pledged to defend their country when the time came.”
N.C. Rep. Craig Horn said we find ourselves in unprecedented times that try our patience, challenge our tempers and restrain our movements.
“The American spirit that burned inside those from who today we pay homage continues to live inside each one of us,” Horn said. “We will find a way to cope, to deal and to overcome. We may be all alone but we are all together.”
Horn said the heroes we honor on Memorial Day taught us the value of sacrifice, the dignity of work and the honor of virtue, which he described as the necessary conditions of freedom. They also have shown us the importance of courage.
“It is my belief that the proper way to honor our fallen is to take care of our brothers and sisters wounded either physically and emotionally and to safeguard our families and for each of us to serve a selfless life,” Horn said.
He encouraged the community to stand together to look out for one another.
“It falls on each of us carry a legacy of service for the greater good,” Horn said.
Larry Hook served as host for the virtual ceremony. American Legion Post 208 led the changing of the colors. John Moore, worship pastor of Five Stones Church gave the invocation. Members of Boy Scout Troop 53 led the Pledge of Allegiance. Rachel Sawhook sang the national anthem.
The event concluded with a three-round volley and taps over the footbridge and a performance of the “American Forces Medley” by Jimmy Brennan, a member of the New York City Police Department Pipes and Drums.