VALDOSTA — The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. Memorial Day to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.
The J.C. Williams American Veterans Post 607 participated in the National Moment of Remembrance to open its annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Calvin Graham, Vietnam veteran and AMVETS Post 607 member, recognized 19 soldiers from Valdosta-Lowndes County who did not return from the Vietnam War.
Graham said their service and sacrifice brought the war close to home and will forever be a part of history.
J.D. Rice, Army veteran and AMVETS Post 607 member, spoke about the first Declaration Day in 1865, later known as Memorial Day in 1970.
Rice said in May 1865 formerly enslaved people marched to a Union cemetery near Charleston, S.C.
“The marchers laid fresh-cut flowers at the graves, sang songs and celebrated their freedom, purchased at such a great cost during the Civil War,” he said. “As we observe this day let us remember that they all gave something but some gave all.”
Mayor Scott James Matheson presented the Memorial Day proclamation from Gov. Brian Kemp, followed by the POW/MIA ceremony and lighting of the candles.
Remarks were presented by Valdosta City Manager Richard Hardy, Post 621, Cmdr. Steve Blanton of American Legion Post 13, City Councilwoman Sandra Tooley and AMVETS 3rd District Cmdr. Fred Bates.
In addition to recognition of special guests, AMVETS Post 607 Cmdr. Victor Colston and Sons of the AMVETS Greg White presented Matheson with a plaque and membership card as a member of the Sons of the AMVETS.
Matheson’s father served in the Marine Corps.
Colston said, “This is a way for us to show appreciation for all that you and the City of Valdosta do for Post 607 and to make you officially a part of the American veterans family.”
The ceremony closed with the singing of “God Bless America.”