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Charles Green Sr. thinks it’s important on Memorial Day to honor the men and women who have made sacrifices for their country.
“By remembering, we keep their very spirit alive,” said the command sergeant major for the Leader’s Training Course and 1st Brigade for the U.S. Army Cadet Command.
More than that, Green said Memorial Day gives Americans a fresh motivation to be among those who defend and promote the values of the country they love.
Green told audience members Monday during the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central that they can’t only honor the warriors who defend freedom, help the poor, take care of the sick, demand civil rights and carry out the duties required to maintain a free nation.
They can’t assume that someone will perform those duties. They must be among the people who perform them, he said.
The selflessness with which veterans, living and deceased, kept their country and the Americans living there free makes them deserving of being celebrated by their friends and family, Green said.
Chuck Heater, executive director of the cemetery, looked out over the departing crowd that had filled nearly every chair set out for the ceremony and said it was a success.
The cemetery organizes the event with the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1281 in Vine Grove and American Legion Post 113 in Elizabethtown.
Among the audience members were state Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown; state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown; and state Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown.
Heater said area officials and residents are drawn to the ceremony every year because of their patriotism and enthusiasm to honor the sacrifices that veterans have made and continue to make.
Heater, a veteran of the first Gulf War, said the reason that people should honor veterans comes down to a well-worn saying.
“Freedom is not free,” he said.
Freedoms will disappear if there aren’t people willing to defend them, Heater said.
“God bless America,” he said. “Thank you, all military veterans past and present.”
Monica Dixon of Fort Knox joined the Army in 1991, and her husband has served in the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was in Indiana on Memorial Day training soldiers.
Dixon said she enjoyed the service because it’s important to honor soldiers, especially when some of the veterans buried in the cemetery might not have any family or friends to visit them.
She said honoring veterans is important for communities.
“It’s important so that they don’t forget and so that the families and their children don’t forget the sacrifices for our freedom,” Dixon said.
Harold Craig of Radcliff agreed that ceremonies like that at Kentucky Veteran’s Cemetery-Central is important, saying they draw people together.
“It helps me to see that we can come together as a nation and stand against whatever comes,” he said.
Craig bowed his head as the soundless crowd watched a rifle salute and listened to the playing of Taps to honor fallen veterans.
Craig served in the Army during Vietnam, Grenada and the first Gulf War, trying to coordinate efforts throughout the military.
His experience has convinced him of the importance of observing Memorial Day.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746.