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Honoring Those in Our Armed Forces Who Died Fighting for our Freedoms
Annual Memorial Day Observance, Sunday May 28, 2017
by Brenda Alexander (transcribed P. Brereton)
On a lovely Sunday in May 1998, the Hollywood Cemetery Association held its first annual Memorial Day Observance. We were the first local cemetery to host such an event to pay tribute to those who have died in combat. In those final years of the twentieth century, we Americans were enjoying the peace and freedom of a generally peaceful world which our victories in two world wars made possible. On Sunday, May 28, we proudly hosted our twentieth annual Memorial Day Observance.
As in previous years, the VFW Color Guard posted the colors. Veteran Jon Harrison, who is now one of our first responders and a member of VFW Post 1848, provided the giant American flag that graced this occasion. This beautiful flag was placed on the top rungs of a fire truck ladder.
Esther Gray Lemus, Professor of Voice at Bethel University, and Director of Innovation, the Jackson State Community College choral ensemble, provided a stirring rendition of our National Anthem. After the posting of the colors, Ms. Lemus lead the gathering in a sing-along of spirited patriotic songs.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Kristine V. Nakutis was the guest speaker. After a distinguished twenty-year career in the United States Army, including active duty in combat areas, Nakutis now serves as the Veterans Affairs Coordinator at Jackson State Community College.
As in previous years, the Woodmen of the World purchased and placed flags on the graves of the veterans that are buried in Hollywood. This is a vivid reminder that many of those buried here have served in our nation’s armed forces. The large flags that lined the entrance driveway along with the smaller flags that were placed, enhanced the beauty and dignity of the cemetery and made this an ideal time to visit Historic Hollywood.
No doubt in our post 9/11 world, we are vividly aware of how much we owe to those who are willing to risk their lives to preserve our liberties and our way of life.