Veterans, guests memorialize those who sacrificed it all

BLUEFIELD — Brave men and women who’ve sacrificed their time and lives were memorialized at the annual American Legion Riley-Vest Post 9, Memorial Day Ceremony, on Monday.

At Chicory Square in Bluefield, veterans and guests gathered to honor those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Both solemn and respectful, the service embodied the meaning of Memorial Day.

This year’s guest speaker, Mike “Doc” Atwell, spoke on his experience in the military, as well as his recent experience aboard this year’s Always Free Honor Flight. The flight takes veterans on a free flight to Washington D.C. and visit the Arlington Ceremtery and other war memorials.

Atwell, who served in the U.S. Navy as a Fleet Marine, served overseas. Originally from Maine, Atwell moved to West Virginia after his time in the military to study at Concord University. At Concord, Atwell discovered his love for radio. Atwell now serves as the production manager for Star 95.9 radio.

Of his time deployed, Atwell said, “We woke up, and every single day we were willing to lay down our lives for each other, and for all of you. That’s a brotherhood and a bond I will cherish forever.”

According to Atwell, the honor flight was an experience that touched him dearly. “There were 31 veterans on that trip but there were a lot more walking with us.” Atwell expressed that though his brothers and sisters and arms may not be with us in body, they are always here in spirit.

Of Memorial Day, and every other day of the year, Atwell suggested men and women visit veteran’s graves and stop to say a prayer. “There are plenty of warriors there that would love a visit,” Atwell said.

At the service, several guests sang as their way of honoring America’s heroes. Of the singers, Jillian Gentry, T.J. Goins, and Mercer County Commissioner, Bill Archer, performed.

The Ladies Auxillary also dedicated and placed a wreath to honor all veterans.

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