REMEMBER the Fallen. . . HONOR those who Serve. . . TEACH our children the value of Freedom.
On Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 12:00 PM, Wreaths Across America was at Buck Creek Baptist Church Cemetery to Remember and Honor veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country’s fallen heroes and the act of saying the name of each and every veteran aloud. Fifty wreaths were placed on all the veteran graves at this cemetery.
The American Legion is the nation’s largest organization of US wartime veterans. Post 48 in Chesnee, SC was chartered in 1936, and this is the third year they have sponsored a Wreaths Across America ceremony. They plan to continue this tradition.
Franklin Wall welcomed about 100 family members and friends at 12:00. He is a fourth generation veteran. His father is buried in this cemetery. In his prayer, he set the tone and intent of the service with his words, “Help us to be salt and light to the world.”
Chesnee High School JROTC posted and retired the colors. Two young women and two young men were in the color guard, and the guidon was one of the girls. Her voice carried through the audience, as she directed their movements.
All eyes were on the flags. Hats and caps were removed. Right hands were placed over hearts. Most stood straight and tall as the marchers moved to their places. After the group’s singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” people formed a line to pick up a wreath.
Then the walk began to the appointed spot.
Five members of the Daniel Morgan Chapter, President John Hoyle, Clark Smith, Mike Rock, Colby Alexander, and my husband John Ingle were there to place a wreath on Revolutionary War veteran, James Turner Sr. Representing the Kate Barry Chapter in Spartanburg, I joined them.
Born in Virginia in 1753, James Turner served one hundred thirty-four days in the South Carolina militia during 1779, 1781 and 1782 under Capt. Turner and Col. Winn. After the fall of Charleston, he was under Col. Brandon. Like his father, James Turner was also one of the 2500 men listed has having served with the “Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion.
J.B.O. Landrum tells the following story of how Turner escaped death at the hands of Tories in his book, History of Spartanburg County:
“One time he was taken prisoner by a band of Tories, who were preparing to kill him at once; but as fortune would have it, one of the Tories said, ‘The first man that hurts Jimmie Turner I will kill him.’ Turner had done this Tory a kindness heretofore, and so his life was saved.”
After the war, he bought land and settled near the Pacolet River.
Being part of this ceremony was memorable. Even though a misty rain fell during most of the time, no one left. It was an honor to be there to remember our veterans.
In 2017, with the help of thousands of corporate/civic sponsors and volunteers, over 1,5000,000 wreaths were donated and placed at over 1400 participating cemeteries. I wonder how many there were yesterday?
Let’s choose not to forget those who have fought for the freedom of our country.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
President Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 – 2004)