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This is part 2 of our 3 part Memorial Day Coverage. The final part will be posted tomorrow evening.
Clarksville, TN – Clarksville-Montgomery County holds an annual Memorial Day Ceremony each year recognizing the price that soldiers and their families pay for their defense of our country. It also honors those soldiers who gave their lives on the field of battle for our nation. It lets the community mourn together with the families and friends who are left behind.
The Ceremony is put on by the Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization and was held at Veterans Memorial Park (1300 Madison Street) on a beautiful spring day.
Bleachers were setup for the public, and they were filled with people of all ages and races. Tents were setup, one where water was provided to the attendees, another a place for the VIP guests to sit out of the blazing sun.
The VIP guests were numerous, but included Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers; Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan; State Senator Tim Barnes; State Representative Joe Pitts; Steve Allsbrooks representing Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s office; Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Commissioner Mark Breece; Jerry Rivers, Director of the Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization; Col. William Gayler; Lt. Col. William Ryan; County Commissioner John Genis; County Commissioner Joe Creek; County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos; City Councilwoman Deanna McLaughlin; City Councilman James Lewis; City Councilman Geno Grubbs; City Councilman Marc Harris; City Councilwoman Kaye Jones; Former Clarksville Mayor and Ret. Colonel Ted Crozier; Brigadier General Wendell Gilbert; Wes & Dar Westerman; Gary Ezell; John Stevenson; Sidney Brown; and Jack Nagrod.
The ceremony was flawlessly done.
The 101st Airborne Division’s Band was on hand providing music before and during the ceremony. The 101st Airborne Division’s Honor Guard posted the colors.
The Director of the Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization Jerry Rivers opened the ceremony; he then introduced Stacey Hopwood who would be serving as the emcee for the program.
[wpaudio url=”http://www.mediafire.com/file/e51at8olmag6pt7/Jerry%20Rivers.mp3″ text=”Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization Director Jerry Rivers – Memorial Day Opening Remarks” dl=”0″]
The invocation was delivered by Reverend James Conway.
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Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers was up first.
[wpaudio url=”http://www.mediafire.com/file/vp2zkl9aivqmx43/Carolyn%20Bowers.mp3″ text=”Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers – Memorial Day Speech” dl=”0″]
She followed by Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan
[wpaudio url=”http://www.mediafire.com/file/q9zr2pfphkkdnl5/Kim%20McMillan.mp3″ text=”Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan – Memorial Day Speech” dl=”0″]
Then it was time for Col. William K. Gayler, the Commander of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade who to be was the keynote speaker for the day.
[wpaudio url=”http://www.mediafire.com/file/hlgr0ezmr3xilwi/Col%20Gayler.mp3″ text=”Col. Gayler – Memorial Day Keynote Address” dl=”0″]
After he finished speaking, the Montgomery Central High School JROTC students conducted the missing man table ceremony with dignity.
Then it was time for the Wreath Laying Ceremony by Mayor Bowers, Mayor McMillan, Jerry Rivers, and Col. Gayler. This was followed by wreath presentations by several of the area veteran’s organizations.
The final benediction was read, and the lonesome sound of a bugle blowing taps sounded across the memorial grounds.
[wpaudio url=”http://www.mediafire.com/file/bokelqeow90plc9/Johnny%20Conway-Benediction.mp3″ text=”Jonny Conway – Benediction and Taps” dl=”0″]
Stacey Hopwood then closed out the ceremony.
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About Col. William K. Gayler
Col. William K. Gayler is a Distinguished Military Graduate of North Georgia College, Dahlonega, Ga., where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration and was commissioned as an aviation officer. Upon completing the Officer Basic Course and Flight School, he was assigned to 1-3 AVN in the 2d Armored Division at Ft Hood, Texas, where he served as a scout platoon leader, and liaison officer.
After Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, Gayler was assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky., with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in 2-101st AVN, serving as an assistant S3. Following the Career Course, he was reassigned to Europe, where he commanded C/2-227th Aviation Regiment in Hanau, Germany. He later commanded D/2-227th Aviation Regiment, which deployed as part of Operation Joint Endeavor to Bosnia-Herzegovina. After completing his tour in Europe, he was assigned as the aide de-camp to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Ala. He later served as the commander of A/1-14th Aviation Regiment responsible for all AH-64D Longbow individual operator and maintainer training. Following the Command and General Staff College, he served again at Fort Campbell as a battalion S3 and executive officer with 2-101st Aviation Regiment. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and later served as the deputy director of the Directorate of Evaluations and Standardization, Fort Rucker, Ala.
From May 2005 to June 2007, Gayler commanded 3-101st AVN (Attack) and deployed his battalion in support of OIF. He then attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. His most recent assignment was the officer in charge of RESET Operations Group, 101st Airborne Division.
His military education includes Aviation Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Joint Firepower Control Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College and the National War College. He holds a Master’s degree of Military Arts and Science and a Master’s in Strategic Studies.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (5OLC), Army Air Medal (Numeral 3) and Army Commendation Medal (2OLC). He is an air assault qualified, master army aviator and is a member of the Honorable Order of St. Michael (Bronze Award). Gayler is married to the former Michele Nash of Atlanta, Ga. and has three daughters; Katie, 20, Maggie, 17, and Samantha,11.
TopicsCarolyn Bowers, City of Clarksville, Deanna McLaughlin, Geno Grubbs, James Lewis, Jerry Rivers, Joe Pitts, Kaye Jones, Kim McMillan, Marc Harris, Marsha Blackburn, Memorial Day, Montgomery County Tennessee, Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization, Sidney Brown, Stacey Hopwood, Ted Crozier, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, Tim Barnes, Tommy Vallejos, Wendell Gilbert
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