Sunrise Memorial Day service in Columbia County


An early morning service was held at the Memorial Gardens Park.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Shelor said, “You think about why would someone put their life at risk. It’s because they’re not going to abandon their friends. The bonds that exist between people in the military is something most people will never know.”

People stood united honoring those who have given their all protecting us and others.

“You ever send a gift to somebody, a high school graduate or something and you don’t hear any acknowledgment? Think about the gift these people whose names are on the wall behind me. [They] gave to all of us the freedom we enjoy today. It’s kind of our thank you note. Our way of saying we haven’t forgotten. We remember you and we appreciate it,” said Bill Botham.

Showing respect to military personnel has come a long way over the years.

“It’s a different perspective than what most of us have. If you’ve spent a career there, in and out of the hell-holes, most of us don’t want to go anywhere near,” explained Botham.

Col. Shelor added, ”When people came back from Vietnam, for instance, my brother, you wouldn’t dare go through an airport and let people know you’re in the military. Nowadays, people walk through the military and people cheer for them.”

Not so much cheering at the Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Gardens Park, but proud condolences. 

“It carries on and you hear about military units having reunions 20, 30 years afterward, and they get together, and they talk, and they remember because those guys put their lives on the line for each other and some of them did not come home,” said Col. Shelor.

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