Purple Heart honorees recognized
The Finis J. Self Chapter 2212 Military Order of the Purple Heart representing Cullman and Morgan Counties held their annual memorial service Sat., Aug. 8 at the Purple Heart Memorial in Sparkman Park.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under authority, has been wounded or killed after April 5, 1917. The Military Order of the Purple Heart was formed in 1932, and is the only veterans service organization made up strictly of “combat” veterans.
Clifford Gissell, Commander of Chapter 2212, emceed the event. The Priceville High School JROTC carried out the presentation of the colors, while MSG Donna Johnson sang the national anthem. Pastor Charles Irvin held the opening prayer, giving thanks for those who had given their lives in protection of this country.
World War II POW George Mills read a poem explaining the significance of the POW/MIA table that was on display at the service.
Michael Burchett, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) United States Army, served as guest speaker. He spoke about being inside the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2011, when a terrorist group flew a passenger plane into the government complex.
He urged those in attendance not to forget those who served their country in the armed forces.
ENell Baker sang “Spirit of America,” a song she wrote about this country with an added verse about the Purple Heart recipients.
Recognizing the recipients and hearing their names and branch of service called was the most memorable part of the ceremony. If there were family representatives present Saturday, they were presented with a Purple Heart flag and a rose in honor or memory of their loved one. As each name was read, a bell was rang in recognition of the soldier.
Johnson gave a soul-stirring rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” after all recipients were recognized. Garrett Dellinger concluded the ceremony with the playing of Taps.