Veterans and local residents flocked to the old courthouse in downtown Troy on Monday to pay their respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.
Even though heavy rains blew through the area earlier in the morning – and high winds wreaked a little havoc throughout the Memorial Day ceremony – that didn’t stop the contingent of Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Marine Corps League veterans from holding the ceremony without a hitch as the sun broke through the clouds just in time for the event to begin.
“When Sheriff (John) Cottle asked if I would deliver a Memorial Day speech today, I was caught by such surprise but was immediately honored to have been asked, so today, I want to thank him for thinking of me and to thank you for attending this ceremony as we commemorate, arguably, our nation’s most solemn and respectful holiday,” said Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Cross, a 23-year veteran of the United States Navy who served as the guest speaker at the Memorial Day Ceremony. “I will attempt to remember and honor the many lives that have been impacted and forever changed over the course of American battles.
“The fact that you are here today demonstrates that we came together, to this place, to remember the fallen and the ultimate sacrifice made in defense our great country.
Memorial Day is often filled with many emotions as we recall the lives that were lost on the battlefields of history, and I want to contend that it is also a day of American Pride, a day to hold our heads high and celebrate the heroes that paid for our continued freedom.”
Cross also offered a history lesson during his address to those in attendance, commemorating those who lost their lives from the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the astronauts who paid the ultimate price to discover a world beyond their own.
“You are here perhaps to remember and honor a family member, a friend or simply because of your respect for our fallen. Some of you here served in the military, and while others did not join, as Americans we all serve our country in some way, and just being here today is service to our nation,” Cross said. “I hope you enjoyed this quick glance at American history through just a few of the many confrontations faced by our troops. I challenge all of you today to go forth and learn some history that you did not know about our great military and the adversity they endured for us.
“I encourage you all as we depart and spend the rest of this holiday with family or friends to continue to remember and celebrate the lives of our fallen heroes. To these great Americans we celebrate today in their memory. We remember them with a solemn gratitude, knowing they served the ultimate sacrifice.”
After Cross’ address, Pat McLaughlin of American Legion Post 94 and Marty Alterson of VFW Post 8828 took turns reading the names of local residents who lost their lives in each of the nation’s conflicts over the years.
Alterson and McLaughlin then placed wreaths at each of the respective war memorials on the courthouse lawn in memory of those fallen service members.