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Wilson ceremony honors fallen

By Sara McManamy-Johnson sjohnson@lebanondemocrat.com • May 26, 2014 at 7:00 PM

A steady rain Monday morning didn’t stop Wilson County from honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.

Hundreds of residents, local officials, military personnel, veterans groups and students showed up at the Wilson County Courthouse for a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the American Legion Post 15, the City of Lebanon and Wilson County.

“I think it’s a great turnout today, considering the way the weather is, to see so many people willing to weather the storm,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto on Monday. “I think it’s just a sign of their respect for our veterans and what they mean in Wilson County.”

But organizers didn’t make the attendees weather the rain too long. When it was apparent the rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon, organizers opted to move the ceremony into the county commission room in the courthouse. 

“Wars don’t stop and military actions don’t stop just because it’s raining,” said Lt. Col. Jim Henderson, coordinator for the event and master of ceremonies.

The ceremony included introductions by Henderson and American Legion Post 15 Commander Don Fox and an invocation by Col. John Lloyd, Post 15 chaplain.

Marines Lt. Cpl. Hershey Gheris led the Pledge of Allegiance, and local Junior ROTC students announced the names of all Wilson County service members listed on the Monument to Heroes.

Guest speaker Shyrell Copas Herrera shared stories about her father, Sgt. Ardie Ray Copas. Copas, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in March, died in 1970 when he was killed in combat in Cambodia. The 19-year-old Army machine gunner died saving four of his comrades. His daughter, Herrera, was just six months old. 

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