Huntington honors the fallen on Memorial Day

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - During a ceremony at the Memorial Arch, the city of Huntington held its annual event to honor fallen soldiers.

“Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate, rather, it is a solemn day to remember those who we have lost,” said Edward Diaz, the Department of Veterans Assistance Secretary.

Diaz was the keynote speaker of the event, and several others including Mayor Steve Williams and J. Brian Nimmo, the director of the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center also spoke.

“It’s a debt that cannot be repaid. All we can do is just honor their memory and their sacrifice,” said Diaz.

Roses were placed to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action, and veterans presented memorial wreaths.

“I’ve been at this probably 25 to 30 times, but I believe today we had more honor wreaths than we’ve ever had before, and that’s encouraging,” said medal of honor recipient Woody Williams.

Williams says Memorial Day makes him think about his brothers and sisters that he fought beside who never made it back home.

“It’s a proud feeling and yet it’s a remorse feeling,” said Williams.

He says his thoughts turn to two marines who sacrificed their lives to protect him.

“I think of them often, but on this day it has a deeper meaning, because when someone gives their life to protect you, they can’t give any more than that,” he said.

Diaz says on this holiday, he hopes people stop to think about the real purpose and take a minute to reflect.

“Remember that those that made those ultimate sacrifices aren’t here to enjoy,” he said.

The event ended with a 21 gun salute and the playing of Taps.

“It always makes chills go up and down my spine because it’s not for we who are living, it’s for those who gave,” said Williams.

Williams says seeing people come out to events like this gives him hope.

“It gives me encouragement that we’re coming back and that we will again be that United States of America that had so much patriotism and love of country,” said Williams.

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