On Memorial Day - in the midst of travels, barbecues and time with friends and loved ones - residents in Newton County looking for a way to pay tribute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country can stop by the Covington square at 10 a.m. Monday.
The American Legion Post 32 will hold a memorial service in honor of those who have fallen in military service defending their country and the freedoms Americans enjoy today.
Sen. John Douglas (R-Covington) will be offering a few words as guest speaker. Opening and closing the memorial with prayer is the Rev. Jason Mincey, and Mary Edwards will sing the national anthem.
Along with the memorial service, Post 32 has also put up an array of crosses bearing the names of the 83 Newton County residents who died in wars from World War I to the present day war in Iraq and
Afghanistan (pictured on Page 7A). The four-foot high wooden crosses, a stark visual reminder of the price paid over the years, went up last Monday on property owned by Jack Laseter next to the Knight and Tabb Insurance Agency on U.S. Highway 278 and Floyd Street in Covington.
According to Post 32's Adjutant Roger Tingler, the tradition of putting up the crosses began with former Board of Commissioners Chairman Davis Morgan and was taken up by the American Legion about five years ago.
Insurance agent Sandy Ozburn said this was the first year the display was put in that location and so far the reaction has been very positive.
"We have tons of people stopping and getting pictures and getting the names," despite the fast-moving traffic nearby, she said.
Resident Julie Gordon stopped at the memorial while walking along U.S. Highway 278.
"It's sad that this generation does not realize how grateful we are to live in this country," she said as she picked up and replaced a flag that had fallen off the cross of the latest addition, the name of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Her own son came back from his tour of duty in Iraq a year ago, she said, and she had friends that had died in Vietnam along with family that had served in other wars and conflicts.
"People don't realize the ones that do come home have a lot of battle scars," she said.
The display will remain up through Memorial Day.
For more information on the service or the display, call (770) 722-7011.