Memorial Day Honor GuardBy Ashley Fielding
POSTED May 25, 2009 11:48 p.m.
For 24 hours, there was a sheriff’s deputy marching each minute in the name of the fallen.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard marched in the veterans’ section of Memorial Park cemetery Monday, standing guard over the graves of those whose lives were lost during military service.
"It’s about respect, and it’s about honor," said Sgt. Bonner Burton, Honor Guard commander.
At least 23 deputies took turns
"It’s sad that Memorial Day has been kind of forgotten," Cronic said. "We wanted to do what we could to raise some awareness."
For some of the deputies who stood guard, like Deputy Dale Davidson, the Memorial Day vigil had personal significance. Davidson retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996 after 21 years of service. He took two shifts — scheduled to guard the veterans’ graves at 1:45 p.m. and again at 8:45 p.m. Monday.
"I know what the sacrifice is that a lot of these people gave and what they’ve been through," Davidson said.
To Davidson, the 24-hour vigil honored fallen soldiers and those who are currently serving in the military — all who have laid their lives on the line in the name of their country.
"(Their sacrifice) is what has allowed this country to be what it is," Davidson said.
To march in their names was an honor, Davidson said.
Burton also planned to take a shift guarding the graves Monday afternoon.
At the end of the day, the deputies planned a ceremony where members of the Honor Guard would play Taps to officially close the vigil, which was open to the public.
Throughout the day, onlookers watched the deputies march before having their own private moment in the veterans’ section of the cemetery, said Billy Hendrix, public relations director for Memorial Park Funeral Home.
"It’s stressful, because everybody’s standing there watching, but it’s humbling to give respect and dignity to the people who have put their lives on the line," Burton said. "In the law enforcement community, we can relate to that."
"(Their sacrifice) weighs heavy on your mind while you march."