Rhea County honors fallen soldiers in downtown Dayton ceremony
In Rhea County, dozens gathered in front of the historic courthouse for a memorial ceremony that has become tradition to the people there.
Monday, May 26th 2014, 3:50 pm EDT
Folks from Graysville, Dayton and across the county gathered on the front lawn of Rhea County's historic courthouse on Memorial Day to reflect and honor those who gave, what people here call, the supreme sacrifice.
Among the crowd dozens of veterans from multiple wars, 92-year-old Herbert Morgan, or Jack, is one of the oldest surviving veterans of World War II in the county.
Now he lives at the Lifecare Center in Dayton but on Memorial Day he reflects on those closest to him who were lost in war. "I lost one of my classmates, high school classmates," Morgan says.
Morgan served 40 years in the Army and Air Force, he spent many of those years traveling. "Really I think of people that I met all over the world," he says.
During the ceremony veterans and their families placed wreaths at the war memorial in front of the courthouse. Local troops retired an American flag by first cutting the stripes and then burning it.
Major John McCullough looked on, he served in the Korean War and two deployments in the Vietnam War. "I think about my platoon leader that I lost in Vietnam," he says.
McCullough says losing his comrades was one of the hardest experiences he had to go through. On this day of reflection he hopes the younger generation will realize one thing.
"Freedom isn't free," he says. "Freedom costs lives."