Memorial Day is a day set aside to celebrate and honor U.S. men and women who have died serving their country in the military, and it will be no different Monday in Lebanon.
“We will have an outstanding service honoring our military dead and recognizing all military personnel now and in the past for service to our great country,” said Ret. Lt. Col. Jim D. Henderson, event director and emcee.
This year, Shyrell Herrera, daughter of one of 24 people who were presented the Medal of Honor, will be the principle speaker to talk about her father, a real hero of the Vietnam War. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the monument in front of the Wilson County Courthouse.
Sponsored by American Legion Post, the city of Lebanon and Wilson County, the ceremony will honor and identify all veterans by service branch with branch flags to be raised in the adjacent Veterans Park. The park, which will be partially completed by Memorial Day, will also feature tours of the finished sections of the park estimated to be 80-90 percent of the project.
Gold Star Mothers will also be honored for their contributions to the country and every name on the monument, which is to be moved into the new park later, will be read aloud and remembered.
“We expect several vehicles from past war periods will be on display as will some gun emplacements and reinactors,” Henderson said.
Henderson said retired Navy Master Chief Mark Sawyer has promised several of the restored and mint condition vehicles such as Jeeps, APC’s, half track and others will be there for the public to see, as will at least one machine gun emplacement and other items. These will be featured on the west and south sides of the courthouse.
The event will be concluded with the posting of the wreath at the foot of the monument by Wilson County commanders and/or designees of all veterans’ organizations, including the American Legion and auxiliaries, DAV, VFW and Vietnam Veterans of America Post 1005. The conclusion will also feature a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
“Get your family together, invite a neighbor and honor those who have given their all to keep this country free,” said Henderson.