‘Hopefully one day the fighting will stop’

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Photo gallery

DOBBINS HEIGHTS — Austin Dockery spoke of the sacrifices and burdens military veterans wear, but mostly of the ultimate sacrifice given by veterans who laid down their lives for a country they live.

Dockery, a first lieutenant with the U.S. Calvary stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, spoke of the sacrifices and the suffering in theaters from Japan to Vietnam to the Middle East and, with terrorism an on-going threat, on American soil.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Army First Lt. Austin Dockery, a Dobbins Heights native, is surrounded by family and friends during the Memorial Day service on Monday in Dobbins Heights.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Army First Lt. Austin Dockery, a Dobbins Heights native, is surrounded by family and friends during the Memorial Day service on Monday in Dobbins Heights.

Of the latter, he said, perhaps those people “just don’t understand” what the American dream is all about. Given that inarguable, position, Dockery still expressed hope that “hopefully one day the fighting will stop.”

Dockery, a Dobbins Heights native, was one of two featured speakers on Monday during a Memorial Day service at Dobbins Heights Town Hall during a 25-minute ceremony. The other was Lawrence A. Strother, a retried chief master sergeant with the U.S. Air Force.

Strother and his wife, Alma — herself a retired Air Force tech sergeant — have a combined 52 years of military service. Of Lawrence Strother’s 30 years in the military, the two were married for “20-plus” of that time.

It wasn’t easy, they said.

But Strother focused his talk on the original purpose of Memorial Day, which stretches back to 1868. Known then as Decoration Day, the idea was to decorate the graves of soldiers who’d fallen in the Civil War — “not to be confused with veterans,” Strother noted, who’d served honorably but were alive to tell the tale.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com With Old Glory flying in the background, retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Lawrence A. Strother speaks as a featured guest in Dobbins Heights.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
With Old Glory flying in the background, retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Lawrence A. Strother speaks as a featured guest in Dobbins Heights.

Memorial Day, which became official nearly 100 years later, is intended for those “who died defending our freedoms,” Strother said.

The U.S. flag was flying at half staff, by order of President Barack Obama. It was to remain there until noon, Strother said, in the hopes that those today don’t “let their sacrifices be in vain.”

Stretcher also recognized the sacrifices at home of American military service members.

“If you have never worn the uniform, don’t believe that your part didn’t count,” he said.

Strother said that from the home front, care packages and prayers went a long way in supporting troops at home and abroad. The American military “still needs your help from the home front.”

Alma Strother is the sister of Dobbins Heights Town Clerk Mary Magee. She and her husband are in town from Charleston, S.C., for Memorial Day weekend to visit family.

The service, attended by approximately two dozen people, was in partnership with the U.S. of America Vietnam War Commemoration. The town is is required to stage two events each year that honor Vietnam veterans and has been doing so since 2013.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue noted the wind picked up just as the national anthem, "America the Beautiful" and "Taps" were played.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue noted the wind picked up just as the national anthem, “America the Beautiful” and “Taps” were played.

Filed in: Featured News, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, News

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