For those who have never had a loved one who served in combat, Memorial Day is simply a time to honor America’s fallen warriors, those who gave all in service to our country. But for those whose family members are in harm’s way, there is something more to the day. Those family members pray everyday that they will always be able to show pride in their loved one on Veterans’ Day, but that they will not have to commemorate his or her sacrifice on Memorial Day. Those families respect the willingness to make that ultimate sacrifice, but pray it will not be necessary.
In Johnson City, Memorial Day will be commemorated at the Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial at the corner of West Market Street and Veterans Way in Kiwanis Park on Monday, May 27 at 6 p.m.
The service will have a special emphasis on the 352 men from Washington County who lost their lives while defending their country since World War I. Members of Rolling Thunder and the JROTC from Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and Science Hill will participate in the ceremony.
The ceremony will be particularly poignant for one local family whose prayers were recently answered. They were able to welcome one of their own back safely from hazardous duty in Afghanistan.
Specialist T. William Jones Jr. (son of Kim and Terry Jones), returned from Camp Leatherneck a little over two weeks ago. He volunteered to serve with the 449th Engineering Battalion out of Fort Thomas last spring. His primary job in Afghanistan was driving the “Husky,” an IED (bomb) detection vehicle. The Battalion cleared highways of explosive devices for other military personnel. Jones served with over 100 men who all returned home without serious injuries.
Memorial Day ceremonies, such as the one at Kiwanis Park, not only serve as somber reminders of what sacrifices must be made to safeguard freedom, but also remind us of what a blessing it is when the brave souls who are willing to make that sacrifice return to us unharmed.
As Memorial Day ceremonies near, local soldier returns home safely