Large crowd turns out to honor fallen soldiers

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World War II veteran Jim Gant, a U.S. Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate First Class, participates in the posting of service colors during the Memorial Day service at Yadkin County Park.

Lisa Michals | The Yadkin Ripple

They spoke of sacrifice.

And of honor. And of the pain that only human loss can elicit.

It was a morning of sparkling sunshine and mild temperatures for the Memorial Day service in the Veterans Garden at Yadkin County Park. More than 125 people turned out to honor the fallen hailing from Yadkin County, whose 300 names were read at the conclusion of the service.

Civil War: Harvey Adams, A.T. Autaway, G.W. Atwood, J.C. Atwood, William W. Angell, William C. Adams, William H. Apperson, F.J. Blalock, G. Greene Bovender, A. Brown and 213 other fallen soldiers … Spanish American War: Clinton Bryant. World War I: Clyde Fletcher, Walter Hutchens, Albert Macy, Augburn Martin, Will Myers, Risden S. Parks, William M. Phillips, Beaver T. Rupard, Charles A. Speas and Minor M. Vestol.

World War II veteran and U.S. Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate First Class Jim Gant, 91, carried the Coast Guard colors and was the target of a steady stream of attendees following the ceremony.

“Thank you for your service,” Gayle Brown, of Hamptonville, told him as she reached out and clasped his hand.

Gant, of Ronda, served during the end of the second World War helping to rebuild — at the time — top secret radio-based navigations known as the Loran system. Loran stations were the precursors to modern GPS. He also helped clean up bombs at Iwo Jima.

“I never fired a shot, but I carried a gun and I got shot at,” Gant said.

World War II: Gaither O. Adams, Vance Adams, William A. Banks, Rex V. Boyd, John W. Chambers, Spencer Campbell, Harrison W. Cheek, John Thomas Davis, Bobby Dobbins, Alfonzo Dickerson Jr., and 45 other fallen soldiers … Korean War: William G. Bell, Enog G. Crowe, Johnson Hall and Floyd W. Martin Jr.

David Shore told the story of a 19-year-old from Connecticut who was killed in the Gulf War. In a letter written for her family should she die in combat, she said, “I did not come here to be a hero.”

Shore said she, like other fallen soldiers, did not die in vain and alluded to the inherent conflict of sacrificing human life during the struggle to achieve the goals of war. He reminded the audience that wars are unpopular.

“We should always remember the decisions that lead to war are those of policymakers” and not of veterans, he said.

“We’re here today to honor all of our fallen heroes,” Shore continued. “War is often not the best policy, but the heroes that war produced are often the best of America.”

Vietnam War: Jerry Ford, Richard G. Joyce, Francis J. Pruitt, Jack Sizemore Sr., David Shaffner and Larry W. Hutchens. Gulf War: Daniel Freeman Swaim.

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