The ceremony was opened by Frank Mir, the Director of the Montgomery County Veterans Service Organization; who welcomed the dignitaries and attendees to the Memorial ceremony. The colors were posted by the 101st Airborne Division Honor Guard, and Stella McKnight backed up by the 101st Airborne Division band sang the national anthem. The Rev. Jodi McCullah the Executive Director of Soldiers and Families Embraced gave the Invocation.
Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers spoke first.
“Today we take time to reflect on all of those servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mayor Bowers. “We are very fortunate to live in a military community where we get to know so many courageous men and women who serve our country on a personal level, and who dedicate their lives to preserving our freedom…”
Bowers was followed by Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan.
“Memorial Day has a very special purpose; to remember the men and women who have given their lives for our country’s security, and for our liberty,” said McMillan. “Today we are reminded that freedom isn’t free. We hold these men and women in our hearts and memories because they made the ultimate sacrifice…”
“I realize that I’m somewhat of an anomaly here in not being in a green uniform, but when it comes to the Department of Defense we are all purple; and when it comes to Memorial Day we are all red white and blue,” said Col. Darnell. “Inadequate gratitude is the feeling that I have every single Memorial Day. It is the feeling that I have for what President Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion…”
After she finished speaking, Col. Darnell along with Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers and Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan laid the official wreath before the War Memorial which honors the memory of those soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Clarksville-Montgomery County who died in the service of their country. After placing the wreath they paused for a moment of silence and introspection.
After the laying of the official wreath, area veterans service organizations placed their own wreaths to commemorate the day.
Rev. McCullah then return to the podium to give the benediction. A bugler from the 101st Airborne Division band sounded the melancholy notes of taps.
The ceremony was closed out by remarks from Frank Mir.
“I cannot find the words to express the appreciation and gratitude to these brave men and women that we are here to memorialize,” said Mir. “Words cannot express the way we feel! We mourn with the family and friends of those we’ve lost and hope that they find comfort in knowing their loved ones died with honor…”