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American Legion Post 67 hosting Memorial Day program

VALLEY — American Legion Post 67 and the Legion Auxiliary will be hosting a Memorial Day program at Veterans Park in the Langdale community at 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 27. Special recognition will be given to local soldiers who died in wars that have taken place since 1950. This includes the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Afghanistan/Iraq War.

“Two of our active members in Post 67 will have parts in this,” said Post Commander Lanny Bledsoe. “Korean War veteran Johnny Miles will be reading the names of the local soldiers who died in that war and Vietnam veteran Sammy Newton will be reading the names of the local men who were killed in Vietnam.”

One local soldier, Brandon Hadaway, died in the Afghanistan War.

The names of the local men who have died in past conflicts are listed on memorials in Veterans Park. There are 93 names in all in the four monuments, a majority of them dating to World War II.

In the event of bad weather on Monday, the Memorial Day program will be taking place indoors at Valley Community Center.

There is a significant anniversary coming up this year. June 6 will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy. This was a critical step in liberating western Europe from Nazi control. Two men from Lanett, Marvin Gilmore and Arnold Sims, were killed in action in the week following D-Day. Both were with the U.S. Army and both died in Normandy, Gilmore on June 9, 1944, and Sims on June 12th.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember and honor those men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. From 1868 to 1970, it was held each year on May 30. It’s now observed on the final Monday in May and is widely considered the unofficial start of the summer vacation season with Labor Day marking the end of the season.

It’s a long-held tradition in the U.S. to visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and to place tiny flags on the graves of those who died while in military service. It’s also appropriate to honor those who served at some point in their life.

Since 1920, the American Legion has recognized the silk poppy as its official symbol of remembrance. This was inspired by John McCrae’s famed poem “In Flanders Fields.” McCrae was a lieutenant colonel with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War I and died of pneumonia in 1918. In his famous poem, he writes of poppies growing the fields making the graves of soldiers.