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Thank you, heroes: Memorial Day ceremony at Gregg County Courthouse honors 'valiant veterans'

By Angela Ward
May 28, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Giving thanks was the theme of Monday's Memorial Day service to honor veterans on the Gregg County Courthouse lawn.

"Our country assembles today on courthouse lawns across America to honor our valiant veterans, because we have promised never, ever to forget their service to our country," said Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, who served as master of ceremonies.

About 300 people attended the event.

"Gregg County has many unsung heroes who have given this nation their time, their energy and, in some cases, their lives," Stoudt said. "They deserve our thanks, today and always."

Richard Ash, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, said he comes to the Memorial Day service every year.

"I come to remember the members of my squadron who never made it back home and all the veterans who gave their lives for our freedom," Ash said.

Tiffany Thompson of Houston was at the event with her two children to show support for her grandmother, Longview resident Frances Fuller, who served in the Navy WAVES during World War II.

"I always come here to remember all the men and women I knew during World War II," Fuller said. "I'm glad I was part of it."

Former Marine Sgt. Danny Whyte, one of the speakers, said he came to honor heroes, living and dead. He also gave a special tribute to mothers of men and women who had died while serving their country.

"The word hero is so misused today it's unbelievable," Whyte said. "Veterans who died in combat, and the families they leave behind, are the real American heroes."

Near the end of the event, the themes from all branches of the military were played, and veterans and active-duty service members came to the front.

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun-salute and the playing of "Taps."



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