Purple Heart memorial service honors fallen
Special to the Enquirer
Each August, the Finis J. Self Chapter 2212 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart sponsors a memorial service to honor the fallen warriors of Cullman and Morgan counties.
Those being honored were either killed in action or received a Purple Heart after being wounded and passed on later in life.
The service will be conducted at the Purple Heart Monument in Sparkman Park in Hartselle Aug. 7 at 10 a.m.
During the ceremony, each name inscribed on the monument will be read aloud accompanied by the sounding of a bell. A small Purple Heart flag will be presented to the next of kin or a friend if they are present.
The names will be read by prominent elected officials representing Cullman and Morgan counties: State Sen. Arthur Orr, Rep. Terry Collins, Morgan County Commission Chairman Ray Long and Cullman County Commission Chairman Jeff Clemons.
The guest speaker for this year’s ceremony will be retired Lt. Col. Brady A. Gallagher, a native of Cullman and a retired Army Aviator who served three years in Iraq as a Dustoff (Medevac) Pilot.
The Civil Air Patrol cadets from Hartselle High School will post the colors.
Former POW George Mills will supervise the POW/MIA ceremony. Retired Master Sgt. Donna Johnson will sing the National Anthem and the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and ENell Baker will sing her original song, “Spirit of America.”
The American Legion and Patriot Guard motorcyclists, with flags flying and motors revving, will make their grand arrival and will be present during the ceremony.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart is unique among military fraternal groups. All its members have spilt blood or were otherwise injured in combat with an enemy of the United States. This memorial service honors those warriors, past and present.
In addition to the names listed on the Purple Heart monument, a Veterans Walk is open to all veterans. Engraved bricks honor or memorialize U.S. veterans.
For more information about the service, having a Purple Heart recipient’s name inscribed on the monument or purchasing a brick for a veteran, contact commander Clifford Gissell at 256-338-5617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list of the names to be read, along with information about the chapter and the ceremony, can be found on the chapter website, www.mophchapter2212.com.