SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Sgt. William Jasper Memorial Ceremony was held on St. Patrick’s Day eve, to celebrate the fallen soldier for his patriotism and sacrifice during the Revolutionary War.
“Sure as the summer day is long, William Jasper was the son of an Irishman,” Lt. Col. Stephen Bolton said. He counted up to eight different possible countries of origin of Jasper, which speaks to his profound courage, Bolton added.
The annual ceremony pays tribute to the Irish military members, known as the Jasper Greens.
Much like last year, the event was scaled-down, excluding the traditional march from Johnson Square to the sergeant’s towering monument on Madison Square. The event featured multiple speakers, prayers, a blessing and laying of wreaths at the monument.
“Maintaining his firm grip on the flagstaff, even while wounded, he saw the flag to safety and planted it as a rallying point for his men before dying on the battlefield,” during the Siege of Savannah in 1779, Bolton said.
Bolton also praised Jasper for his courage in joining a militia and fighting for what he believed in during the Revolutionary War.
“As you pass by our dates, as you see soldiers in your community or as you hear the sound of freedom flying overhead as it often does, that you please spare a thought for the many versions of Sgt. Jasper and his family who still live among us,” Bolton said.
Jimmy Ray, 2020 Veteran of the Year in Savannah, also spoke about his admiration of Jasper.
“The worst thing is to be forgotten, we’re not forgetting [Jasper] and we haven’t forgotten anyone in 240 years in this country,” Ray said.
Although Savannah has canceled the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it’s still important for the city to celebrate the holiday in a safe way, Mayor Van Johnson said.
“We were determined that we were not going to let anything or anybody, any disease or any pandemic trying to destroy or diminish the feats of St. Patrick in this city or the spirit of St. Patrick in this city,” Johnson said.