Henry County observed America’s most solemn of holidays Monday with a service at Heritage Park’s Veterans Wall of Honor.
The county’s annual Memorial Day service featured a speech from General Edwin Burba, a 34-year veteran of the U.S. Army and former Commander in Chief of Forces Command for the U.S. Army, as well as a flyover from a variety of planes from the World War I era and modern-day helicopters.
Burba quoted John Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, on the institution of war.
“When folks ask him what a terrible institution war was, he said, ‘yes, it is, it’s the worst institution in the world, except for all others. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; The decayed and degraded state of moral patriotic feeling, which feels nothing is worth war is much worse,’” Burba said. “‘A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight. Nothing he cares more about than his own personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free.’ This was a peacenik, a man who spent his whole life fighting for peace, but he understood what the real world is all about. There’s a lot of tigers out there, and they must be dealt with.”
Burba spoke of the importance of the Memorial Day observation, speaking of those who fought and gave their lives for America in its wars.
“We gather here today to honor the men and women who gave their lives in search of peace,” Burba said. “They turned their backs on easy street, they walked away from the good life, they fought for the rights of people everywhere to live in peace, to determine their way of life, free of oppression and fear. They fought at Concord and Yorktown, New Orleans, the forests of Argonne, the Ardennes, the deserts of North Africa, the deserts of Arabia, the beaches of Tripoli and Normandy, the waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Persian Gulf. They fought in the air above Frankfurt and Tokyo, Baghdad and Kabul.”
In addition to Burba’s keynote address, a wreath was presented in front of a battle cross, set up in honor of those who have given their lives in the field of battle for the country.
Before and after the ceremony, numerous residents placed flowers in front of the Wall of Honor, in honor of those lost in battle.