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Honoring those who made ultimate sacrifice
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Phyllis Barnes places a wreath by the monument at Warren County Memorial Airport during the community’s Memorial Day observance Monday morning.

There is no greater impact a person can make than to give their life for someone else.

That was the message which resonated Monday at the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Warren County Memorial Airport.

“It takes a brave person to put themselves in front of a bullet, a suicide bomber, or a mortar,” said Vietnam War veteran Terry Yates, who was the featured speaker. “Let us honor the memory of heroes who are no longer with us.”

In his speech, Yates provided characteristics of what makes a person a soldier. He said a soldier is someone who is compassionate enough to give his last bit of food to a child while also courageous enough to jump on a grenade.

“A soldier has to be strong enough to hold a 50-caliber machine gun, yet gentle enough to carry a small child to safety,” said Yates. “A soldier risks loss of limb, and even loss of mind.”

Yates talked about how the true meaning of Memorial Day is often forgotten by the three-day holiday weekend which many consider the official start of summer. 

He said we should focus on those who gave their life to protect our country, not a retail sale.

“Today is a stark and painful reminder of those who never got to call themselves veterans,” said Yates. “Too many mothers, fathers, siblings and children find the pain of seeing an empty chair. It’s up to us to honor their service and their memory.”

The 131 names of Warren County residents who made the ultimate sacrifice and who died for their country were read by County Executive Jimmy Haley and McMinnville Mayor Ryle Chastain.

Jon Flanders read a poem written by John McCrae entitled “In Flanders Fields.”

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

WCPI 91.3 will broadcast the Memorial Day program Wednesday, June 2 at 1:05 p.m., and again Friday at 9:05 a.m. and 9:05 p.m.