National Infantry Museum greets hundreds for Memorial Day - WRBL

National Infantry Museum greets hundreds for Memorial Day

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COLUMBUS, Ga. - Hundreds of families came to Columbus this Memorial Day to celebrate the legacy of their heroes. The National Infantry Museum kept them busy with a host of activities.

Attendees say while Memorial Day is a somber occasion, they are happy to lift up the lives of those lost. The day began with a dedication ceremony, adding hundreds of pavers to the more than 4,000 on the Heritage Walk.

Retired Muscogee County Judge John Allen, an Air Force veteran, was the guest speaker. He summed up the day by speaking highly of those who gave their lives fighting for the country. "
The honor comes not from us, but from them, from that which they reflected in their lives," he says. "In the course of their service to their country, these noble warriors of all hues, of all diversities put their lives on the line, their family life on hold and subordinated even their personal dreams to the higher calling of serving this country."

Everyone then got a chance to visit the new pavers, where they created rubbings of their soldiers' names. With 233 names added, the family and friends of those recognized say it's an honor to be part of such a momentous occasion.

World War II vet Charles Williams died last year, and was remembered by his daughters Nancy and Stella at the ceremony. Stella says, "We were very, very proud, and he wanted so much to come to the museum and we never were able to get him here because of health reasons, so we felt like this year especially, after his death, we wanted to be here to honor him."

Young sisters Catherine and Lauren Kennedy were honoring their father, too. They joined him in scratching out his and their grandfather's names. Catherine says they wanted "to pay our respects to the soldiers who died in the wars, and I'm honored that my father serves in the military and that my two grandfathers, they used to serve in the military but they retired."

The museum also hosted a flag retirement ceremony, during which local Boy Scouts helped families burn torn and tattered American flags. Some shed tears thinking of their loved ones throughout the day, but many say they're happy to honor the heroes.

Kids also learned about military history during a Memorial Day mini-camp. It's a prelude to the museum's summer camp, which begins in June.

The festivities wrap up Friday with a performance by the Enduring Freedom Honor Team from Virginia in the museum's lobby at 11 a.m.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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