STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Dozens gathered at the Statesboro Judicial Annex to honor the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
The morning started with an honorary wreath laying ceremony held by the American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90. Wreaths were laid at three memorial sites across Statesboro. The first at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Triangle Park, the second at the Flame of Freedom outside of city hall, and the third at the Bulloch County Judicial Annex.
“It means everything, Memorial Day is one of those days each year like July the 4th where we really, truly take time to understand and appreciate what it means to be an American, what it means to be free and what it actually costs to be free and to continue this great nation,” said Lonnie Ellis, Commander of the American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90.
Following the wreath laying ceremony, various veterans read the names of the fallen heroes who called Bulloch County home, but weren’t able to return from the line of duty.
“It means everything, I was thinking about it driving in here. It’s those that have died before us that give us the opportunity to come here today and pay respects,” said Roy Thompson, Chairman of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners.
Randy Brigman, a service officer for the American Legion Dexter Allen post 90, included the names of two of his personal friends who he served with. According to Brigman, not a day goes by where he doesn’t think of those who weren’t able to make it home.
“I had two of my real good buddies that I called out their names prior to the ones from Bulloch County and I call them every year, and I think of them every day. They were young guys and the thing is, they’ll never get old in my sight,” said Brigman.
The ceremony served as a reminder to the community that freedom is never free.
“It’s not free, it never is free and it never will be free. Someone must always be willing to step up and pay the price,” added Ellis.
Ellis explained that Memorial Day isn’t a time to thank those who are still living, but honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Every year and pretty much any day of the year, you can get thank you’s for your service from people, and this is the one day where most veterans will tell you don’t thank me. If you really want to thank me, what I want you to do is take time to go out to the cemeteries and go through there and see those tombstones of the young men and women killed and honor them. Don’t thank me for my service today, we have every other day of the year to thank me for my service. Today, just honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Ellis said.