Bluffton honors fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – This Memorial Day, Bluffton hosted two special ceremonies to honor our fallen soldiers.

“The average age of the boys we took care of was between 18 and 24… For me the anguish was not having shot someone, but not being able to save them all,” Mary “Edie” Meeks, a Vietnam nurse in the US Army, told the crowd that gathered for a Memorial Day ceremony at Sun City.

“I used to hold anger and resentment close to me heart, but I found I was putting the focus on the wrong thing… I should be remembering the bravery, the kindness, the humor, and the love for one another,” she said.

The Sun City Veterans Association held a ceremony early Monday morning.

“Today’s is the most important day I think of all recognition days because we recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, those who were not able to come home,” said Commander Marshall Branch with the US Coast Guard at Hunter Army Airfield.

The American Legion Post 205 hosted a ceremony at the Bluffton Police station shortly after. 

“Today was our second, Bluffton’s second Memorial Day celebration,” said Robert Kitty, 1st Vice Commander with the American Legion Post 205, “There’s a lot of guys that gave a lot and they didn’t come home to their families so it’s only befitting for us to give them honor, show them respect and you know, prayer for their families, but they gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

The events welcomed everyone–friends, family, fellow soldiers, and veterans. The American Legion ceremony raised the American flag in honor of those who gave that ultimate sacrifice.

“I was a Vietnam veteran,” said Jim Armanno, “This days for me to remember the guys who never came back. It’s very sad and emotional at times… thinking that I lucked out, came home, raised a family, and the guys who didn’t… some of the best men I ever met.”

In Sun City, tradition held as they rang a bell for every Veteran in their community who passed away in the last year.

“They rang the bell a few moments ago for folks who died here at sun city in the last year who served their country, and the bell rang many times. So I think that here on Memorial Day it’s a chance to remember those who paid the ultimate price, preserving the freedoms we enjoy here as Americans,” said South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford.

“My husband was in the marine corps and he’s been gone for 9 years, and this is such a tribute to all the men present and past who have served,” said Marie Rafferty, a Bluffton resident.

“My father and the generation of soldiers who served with them in World War II.. as well as all of the service men and service women who are currently in the service and who have served, are always in our hearts,” said resident Joe Garra.

“So it doesn’t matter what war you were in, you are still my boys, and now gals, and always will be.” said Meek. 

The American Legion branch in Bluffton currently has 10 members and they’re looking for more help. They hope to have a memorial garden for this day next year.

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