‘They inspired future generations’

Veterans honored at Memorial Day commemoration

awomack@macon.comMay 18, 2014 

Miniature American flags flapped in a gentle breeze Sunday as the names of 35 veterans were read aloud.

A group of about 50 people gathered beneath a large magnolia at Riverside Cemetery on Sunday afternoon to remember the service of the veterans buried there in the past year.

The men and women served their country, whether in times of peace or war.

Many lived long lives after returning to civilian life. One woman, a U.S. Navy WAVE officer in World War II, died in November at age 106.

C.J. Mendes, a U.S. Air Force captain from Robins Air Force Base, expressed gratitude to the veterans’ service.

“When you think about all that they endured, all that they witnessed, all the challenges they overcame ... They inspired future generations,” Mendes said.

He also thanked the civilians who support those who serve in the military.

“We could not do what we do every day without that level of support,” Mendes said.

Representatives of several family lineage organizations, groups whose members trace their family roots to an ancestor, many through veterans, presented wreaths.

Suzanne Doonan, the cemetery’s conservancy director, said the cemetery hosts a Memorial Day commemoration annually both as a service for the community and as a way of honoring veterans.

Rita Horne sat clutching one of the miniature flags during a moment of silence held for the veterans.

Her husband, Donald William Horne, served four years in the Air Force during the Korean War.

After learning about the oil business in the military, he owned and operated Lucky Oil Company until his retirement.

He died March 28 at age 78.

Horne said she planned to post the flag at her husband’s grave.

“My husband loved his country. He loved serving his country and I know that he would be very proud today,” she said.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398

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