Memorial Day service honors America’s fallen warriors
Tears of remembrance for fallen soldiers in wars past and present rolled down the faces of many during the Memorial Day service held Monday at Coral Ridge Cemetery in Cape Coral.
About 400 people attended the ceremony, and were immediately reminded of the sacrifice made on their behalf. The names of 72 soldiers killed in action were read aloud as the American flag was lowered to half mast, followed by a moment of silence.
“Memorial Day is about remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Bob Rieser, honor guard captain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8463 in Cape Coral.
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, a North Fort Myers resident, also attended the ceremony and gave a speech commemorating the day.
“We come here every year to remind ourselves that freedom is not free. It is paid for with the blood and sacrifice of our soldiers,” Kottkamp said.
He added that sacrifice has been a hallmark of the nation since its inception, as soldiers fought for the inalienable rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence.
“Those are rights that have been fought for generation after generation, from Lexington and Concord all the way ’til today in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Kottkamp said.
The traditional 21-gun salute was conducted by Rieser’s VFW post, followed by a rendition of “Taps”. The crowd also joined Dorian Gulledge in singing the national anthem and “God Bless America,” and the service was capped by a flyover of a Huey helicopter used in the Vietnam War, which circled twice around the ceremony.
Cape Coral Councilmember Bill Deile, a former colonel in the Army for more than 30 years, attended the service in his dress blues.
“It’s a day of remembrance of the sacrifice, not only of those that’ve died but those that’ve been injured, to pay respect,” Deile said.
In a town hit hard by the dragging economy, the day served as a reminder that harder times are being endured by soldiers overseas.
“It takes your mind off your every day worries and makes you realize there’s something greater than yourself,” Deile said.