PHOTO: Crowds gathered in the shade and in the sun to take part in the Memorial Day Service Monday morning at Five Points in downtown Franklin. / Photos by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
A crowd of several hundred gathered Monday at Williamson County Veterans Park in downtown Franklin for the annual Memorial Day Service to honor the men and women and families that have given the ultimate sacrifice to keep intact the nation’s freedoms.
Folks who arrived early enough found the shady spots and others braved the hot sun to listen to patriotic music from the Williamson County Community Band, to hear speeches from two mayors and a Congressman, and to quietly reflect as the true meaning of Memorial Day was demonstrated in the 45-minute ceremony.
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore and Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson each shared comments, and U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-District 7, served as guest speaker and told about some of his personal experiences as an Army Night Stalker in deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror.
“What a great country that we have. The freedoms that we experience and what we’re here to celebrate today, and to talk about and to recognize and appreciate the sacrifice and the cost that it took to get us this freedom.”
“We make a big deal out of this but there’s a reason we do. And I can tell you only from my experiences why it is so important for me that we make a big deal out of Memorial Day and Veterans Day. We make a big deal out of this because of the courage that [soldiers] display to go in to the fight. When most people hear bullets firing, they want to run away. But our warriors run to the sound of the guns.”
“I recently proclaimed the month of May as Memorial month to recognize our fallen heroes. Over 1.1 million men and women have died in wartime throughout the stand of our nation’s history. Then add in those that are wounded and missing in action, and that number swells to 2.8 million.”
“It is so appropriate today to honor them, and as we connect today with our friends and our families, let’s make sure that we take time to remember those we are honoring.”
“In 1882, our nation observed the first Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember and to honor the sacrifice of those who died in our nation’s wars. For decades, Memorial Day was a day in our nation when the stores closed and the communities gathered together for a day, just like today. You come here to honor our fallen comrade by your presence. This day we honor the ideas and the values those soldiers stood for and died for.”
Below are a few more scenes from the day.