The Garner community paused from its holiday celebrations briefly on Saturday to remember its military veterans during its Garner Veterans Memorial Wreath Laying and Gold Star Tree Ceremony.
This year, for the first time, the memorial is adorned with wreaths representing the five branches of military service. The wreaths were placed at the memorial by U.S. Army 1st Sergeant Shawn McKenna, U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Jon Nichols, U.S. Navy Petty Officer Richard Urban, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Holland and U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jason Trail.
“Garner is a community that understands and appreciates what our military veterans have done for our nation,” said Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams. “It is proper that our community take a moment to honor our veterans, especially those who are memorialized here.”
The names of the 66 community men who have died while in military service to the country are engraved on the memorial.
Each of the men also is represented by a gold star on the Gold Star tree, which honors the town’s Gold Star Families. Gold Star Families are those who have had a loved one die while serving in the military. Other Gold Star families also placed stars on the tree.
“It is a way to show that they are not forgotten,” said Jeanette Stevens, who placed a star in honor of her cousin Robert Dawson, who grew up with her family.
Dawson was a 23-year-old staff sergeant when he was killed in Vietnam.
“He was much more like a brother than a cousin,” Stevens said.
The emotion of the event was heightened by an unexpected military jet flyover.
The event was presented by Show N Tell Ministries, which also presents the annual Garner Veterans Memorial Salute to the Troops. The Town of Garner partnered with the group and the Garner Optimist Club supplied the five wreaths and the tree.
Tim Stevens: firstname.lastname@example.org