Monday, May 27, 2024

Oconee County Memorial Day Ceremony Moved Indoors To Honor 39 From County Who Gave Their Lives In Foreign Wars

***Roll Call Highlights Program***

The rain moved the ceremony to the gym at the Community Center in Oconee Veterans Park on Monday, where about 150 people turned out to honor all military veterans and the 39 fallen from Oconee County whose names are engraved on the memorial at the front of the park.

The program kicked off with Art Ryder, representing the William Daniell Society, Children of the American Revolution, reading In Flanders Fields, a poem from the First World War.

David Kilpatrick, Chairman of the Oconee Veterans Memorial Foundation Inc., served as master of ceremonies, and Lt. Col. John Campbell served as the guest speaker.

Campbell quoted at length from former President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address, when Reagan said each of the markers in Arlington National Cemetery is a monument to a hero.

The program culminated in the Roll Call by retired Sgt. Maj. Mark Saxon, Oconee County Post 4 Commissioner. Saxon called out the names and ranks of the 39 on the memorial.

Nine of those were from World War I, 22 were from World War II, two were from the Korean War, three were from the Vietnam War, one was from the war in Afghanistan, and two were from the war in Iraq.

Other Details

Guest Speaker Campbell served with the National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radeological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Responsive Force Package (CERFP) following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.


He rose from First Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel and served as Director of Simulation and Strike Team Leader for the 187th CERFP.

Campbell said he chose to read from Reagan’s inaugural address because “it has always meant a lot to me” as he has worked through his career, “which has had several twists and turns.”

“After the events of 9-11,” he said, “I always felt I had a need to do more for my country.”

“We would not have this community, this country, this county, this family,” Campbell said, “if it wasn't for the efforts of our soldiers, guardsmen, airmen, marines, sailors, coast guardsmen who keep us safe every day.”


The program on Monday included the presentation of colors by the Georgia State Society, Sons of the American Revolution, singing of the National Anthem by Joy Boskoff, and echo taps by Oconee County High School seniors Seth Lott and Maria Munoz-Ayala.

Prior to the roll call by Saxon, retired Lt. Col. Dave P. Durden called forward families for presentations of the wreaths.

The program, originally scheduled for the area in front of the memorial at the entrance to Oconee Veterans Park, lasted nearly an hour.


The video below is of the entire program.

Due to a problem with the head of the tripod, the images are unstable at points.

Campbell began his comments at 15:28 in the video.

Saxon stepped forward for the Roll Call at 40:40 in the video.

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