The third annual Fallen Veterans Day of Remembrance was held Monday at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Mount Airy, with a new twist — a balloon release, with the name of every Surry County soldier who lost his life while in service attached to a balloon.
The celebration Monday, which began at 8:30 a.m., included a review of the history of Memorial Day and the history of the remembrance poppy. The remembrance poppy has been used since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who died during wartime.
“Moina Belle Michael promoted the idea of using the artificial flower called the ‘remembrance poppy’ in honor of those who served in World War I. Her inspiration came after reading the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written by Canadian John McCrae,” the group said during Monday’s gathering. “Memorial Day is not only a day of remembering our men and women who gave all, laying down their lives for their brothers and sisters in arms and for their country, but for remembering the loved ones they left behind. There are 58,479 brothers and sisters that have not returned from Vietnam War.“
The Mount Airy VFW Post 2019 and the American Legion Post 123 hosted this year’s event at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday. The Honor Guard was represented by Jerry Burcham, Grant Thayer, Ronnie Hull, and Alex Hawks. The honor guard lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of fallen brothers and sisters in the traditional manner by first raising the flag and then lowering the flag to half-staff.
Mark Barr, founder of the event which began three years ago in Mount Airy was present at the ceremony as well as the VFW Commander Dave Raborn, a retired USAF master sergeant and many other servicemen and women.
This year Jerry Estes, a member of the VFW Post 2019, came up with the idea for the balloon release honoring Surry County fallen soldiers and those that have gone before. The balloon release was sponsored by the owner and staff at Mom’s Thrift & Gift located at 824 W. Lebanon Street in Mount Airy.