Veterans from all over Hardin County made their way to Wildwood Baptist Church this past Sunday for the annual Memorial Day service. Ten veterans made their way to the service and all took part in the ceremonies of the morning, varying from Vietnam to even one World War Two vet that had quite an interesting story.
US Navy member, Earl Fletcher, was serving on an aircraft carrier, “three days after high school graduation, I was in the Navy. I was on an aircraft carrier on the 29th of January and was blown off that rascal on the 19th
of March. I was 60 miles off the coast of Japan and floated in the Pacific Ocean for about 90 minutes and was picked up by the USS Hunt. They picked up about 325 of us out of the water…. There were about 1200 casualties.”
Lumberton’s own, Jim Philp, who served as a First Class Petty Officer Air Traffic Controller for the US Navy, was also in attendance. “We are here to celebrate the lives of those who were lost in the service of our country…. The difference in today versus Veteran’s Day is that we honor our dead. We have about 7.3 million people that served our country, and 1.1 million have died for their country. This is the day that we commemorate for these men and women.” Philp, who worked for the Lumberton Fire Department read the names off the list of those who were being honored during the ceremony.
All American Commander, Richard L. Moore, was the one in charge of organizing today’s event. “We’ve been doing this since 2003 and we honor our veterans and also some of our people that have passed away… It’s a meaningful service. A service like this shows that a community cares, not only about the veterans, but also the families.”
Moore would take time to read a story to the people in attendance about the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, VA. Six men are enshrined in the statue, raising the American Flag. After going through every single man on the statue, he revealed that there were 13 hands carved, when there should be twelve, which many believe the thirteenth, to be “the hand of God.” Commander Moore choked back tears as he talked about the status of being referenced to as a hero. “The real heroes were the ones that didn’t come back.”
In an emotional service, a single line from a song that was played in memoriam of the fallen perfectly sums up the experience. Vince Gill’s ‘Go Rest High on the Mountain” was played during a moment of solitude and remembrance, and the lyrics, “Go rest high on the mountain, son, you’re work here on earth is done,” brought teary eyes and high emotions to everyone in attendance.