On a humid, sunny morning at the beginning of summer and the end of a long weekend, Apopka remembered the true hero of Memorial Day – the fallen American soldier.
Over 1.3 million of them have fought and died on famous battlefields from Appomattox, Argonne, Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Normandy, Pearl Harbor, and San Juan Hill to not so famous conflicts like Dien Bien Phu, the Hurtgen Forest, Quingua, Resaca de la Palma, and Umm Qasr with the sole purpose of defending freedom for the citizens of the United States.
On Memorial Day 2019, the Apopka Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10147 and the City of Apopka sponsored the annual Memorial Day service at the Edgewood/Greenwood Cemetery. Over 200 people attended.
Elected officials at the ceremony included Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Apopka City Commissioners Doug Bankson, Kyle Becker, and Alexander H. Smith, Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore, former Apopka City Commissioner Diane Velazquez, and former Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer.
Commander Andy Anderson of the VFW Post 10147 welcomed the crowd and presided over the event.
Jason Fletcher, a Chaplain Candidate for the United States Army Reserves, delivered the invocation and benediction. During his prayer, Fletcher reminded us of those soldiers who gave their lives and gave those in attendance the job of remembrance.
“We remember those who have passed, but remembering those who have passed is only half of the task ahead,” Fletcher said. “We must also carry their love, honor, and duty forward to future generations. Our children must know who they were, what they did, and why they did it.”
The Apopka Police Department Color Guard, Boy Scout Troop 211, and the Girl Scout Troop 1642 presented the posting of the colors, Cooper Smalley sang the Star Spangled Banner, Jr. Vice Commander Niles Urfer and Chaplain William Boyd presided over the reading of fallen heroes ceremony from Post 10147, which included William Fagg, Alton Schumate, Charles Thomas, and Bob Weekley.
Steve Brick, Marc Delle, Jim Greene, Frank Hibbler, and Joe Kara of Post 10147 also performed a Gun-Salute in their honor.
Bankson and his father Pastor Roger Bankson sang a song entitled “We Remember”, written by Bankson in 2014 and becoming an Apopka Memorial Day tradition.
Matthew Hutchinson played Going Home and Amazing Grace on the bagpipes, while Nelson and Anderson presented a wreath dedication for the fallen heroes.
Chaplain William Boyd of Post 10147 was the featured memorial speaker, and offered these important words in honor of the American hero:
“For many, this Memorial Day is a three-day holiday. Many have forgotten the true meaning of this solemn occasion. But for those of us here today, and across the nation and perhaps the world – we know. We pause to remember those who not only served but paid the ultimate price. These heroes who have placed themselves in harm’s way. These heroes who put honor first, and displayed true resolve in the face of peril. These men and women of the armed forces who paid the ultimate price… we honor you.”