Winchester, Clark Co. remember native sons and daughters who fell in service of nation

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

By Gillian Stawiszynski

Winchester and Clark County residents joined in remembering the nation’s lost veterans this Monday on Memorial Day.

For the fourth year, veterans and residents sat in front of City Hall and listened to the National Anthem to honor and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces.

Email newsletter signup

After welcoming the crowd to the service, Mayor JoEllen Reed acknowledged Clark County Judge Executive Les Yates’ presence and passed the microphone to Rolling Thunder KY Chapter 5 member Larry Hall.
Rolling Thunder is a United States advocacy group that seeks to bring full accountability to prisoners of war (P.O.W.) and missing-in-action (M.I.A.) service members of all U.S. wars. The group also advocates for veterans through financial assistance and helping to bring any P.O.W. or M.I.A. service members home to rest.

Hall started his speech by reminding the audience of the true meaning of the holiday and thanking the veterans in attendance.

“We all got our heads out of a pillow this morning in a frizz in the greatest country in the world. I want to thank you for your service to this great country,” he said.

Hall reminded the audience that Memorial Day is not just a day off and that it is a “sad day.”

“Freedom isn’t free. Our freedom was bought and paid for by the American men and women of our veterans who, today, are not with us.” Hall said, “For those people that think that today is about a paid holiday, you don’t have to go to work today, or you can go to the lake and ride around the lake – drink beer and have a good time. Or you can sit at home and grill because you didn’t have to work because you think this is a day for you. I’m sorry. This is not our day. This is their day. This is about the lost men and women, the brothers, the sisters, the friends and the cousins.”

Just before the end of his speech, Hall told the crowd an unattributed quote that resonated with the day’s meeting.

“They said you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.”

Circuit Judge and U.S. Army Colonel David Ward spoke after Hall and shared stories of fellow service members he loved and lost in battle.

“Let’s honor the purpose of this holiday. That is to honor those who gave their last full measure of devotion in service and dedication to our country.” Ward said.

The Boy and Girl Scouts of America stood in front of the crowd, each scout reading a few names at a time from the list of about a hundred veterans from Clark County who lost their lives while serving in WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

After each name was called, one of about 15 veterans in attendance took turns tapping the large bell outside City Hall – one tap for each veteran.

The ceremony is wrapped up with a performance by Perri G. Wilson, who sang”God Bless America” and asks the crowd to join her, filling up the town square with music and remembrance for the nation’s veterans.