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Veterans of the Ozarks Memorial Day ceremony honors the fallen

“It is said that we die twice, once when our souls leave our bodies and lastly when our names are no longer spoken.”


David “Mac” McAllister, U.S. Navy veteran and president of Veterans of the Ozarks, shared these words as part of the annual VOTO Memorial Day ceremony, held on Monday, May 27, at the Table Rock American Legion in Kimberling City. Area veterans were joined by community friends, family members and local officials and dignitaries in making sure that second death does not happen to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and our freedom.


The colors were presented by a Veterans of the Ozarks honor guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the invocation.


“This is not Veterans Day,” stated McAllister. “It’s not a celebration; it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of our freedom.”


Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, originated over 155 years ago as a time for families to decorate graves and honor those who gave their lives in the Civil War to preserve the Union. While such gatherings are still important, McAllister also included in his remarks those service members whose families do not have that privilege—those buried at sea, including the “Lost 74” off the coast of Vietnam; those whose exact fates are still unknown, such as the Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 passengers and crew whose families still await closure. He also shared stories of some who were pioneers in their time, like Lori Ann Piestewa, the first woman service member to die in Iraq and the first Native American woman killed while fighting for the U.S. military.


McAllister challenged those gathered for the ceremony to continue the fight to preserve the freedoms so many had to fall to defend. “Never forget freedom is not free. Those that would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.”


The ceremony concluded with the reading of the numbers killed in each American conflict, followed by a rifle volley and playing of Taps.


Veterans of the Ozarks is dedicated to serving other area veterans, including regular service as Honor Guard for military funerals. Learn more, including upcoming events, by visiting Veterans of the Ozarks on Facebook.

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