ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Every year in Ashland City, they gather.
“I lost two uncles in World War II, twins,” Ret. SSG Grady Perry said. “I’d tell people my grandmother had them on the same day, she buried them on the same day.”
The Cheatham County Veterans Memorial Park is usually humble and solemn, a quiet reminder of sacrifice and bravery.
But Monday, it carried a little more oomph as a trumpeter played Taps and a local veteran sang several songs, including God Bless the USA and God Bless America.
“Lost a lot of good friends from the county. Mike Day, Gary Oliver,” Perry said. “Just several of those I went to school with.”
Every year, the park holds a service on Memorial Day.
“For me, there are faces and names because I served with men who died,” Rep. Mark Green (R-Tennessee) said. “So, it’s a sad day, but it’s also a celebration of the freedom we have because of their sacrifice.”
Green spent over two decades in the U.S. Army, with arguably his biggest accolade being that he was part of the team that initially interrogated Saddam Hussein after the former Iraqi politician’s capture.
He talked about losing friends and colleagues while serving.
“Sacrifice, the willingness to put yourself second to something else that’s bigger,” Green said. “I think every veteran, whether they make the ultimate sacrifice or not, has to make that decision in their head that there’s something that’s even more valuable than my life, and I think that is the freedom of our great country.”
For veterans, Memorial Day is understandably special. But if you ask the ones at Ashland City, they’ll all tell you the same thing – their memories extend far beyond just the day itself.
“You really miss them,” Perry said. “The entire time, not just now.”