BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – The American Legion Riley-Vest Post 9 was finally able to hold their annual, beloved Memorial Day tradition at Chicory Square in downtown Bluefield again after having to cancel the ceremony last year due to COVID. And everyone was happy to be a part of it once more.
“It was a nice turn-out. It was actually surprising, because since COVID hit it’s changed a little bit of everything, and it’s nice to see people out now without the mask and being able to look at people face-to-face,” says Jimmy Slaughter, commander of Riley-Vest Post #9.
And it was well-attended– from veterans who had dedicated their lives fighting for our country, to current and future soldiers, proud families, and many different guest speakers and performers– everyone came out to remember, to honor, and to celebrate such a special day together.
“Today isn’t really about us veterans, it’s about the veterans who have lost their lives,” Slaughter says.
The ceremony included special words by guest speaker Paul Dorsey, a 21 gun salute, the performance of Taps, and patriotic songs sung by Bill Archer and Trevor Darago, and many more ceremonial events to honor the tradition. But the best part was the fellowship of all the veterans who can still be with us to reflect on their days serving our country.
“Best thing that ever happened to me,” says retired aircraft refueler Alphonso Hancock. “Through it all, God is good, sure been good to this old man.”
While the ceremony itself was a day to remember, it doesn’t compare to the remembrance of all the lives lost in service, and the honor they have brought to our nation.