Memorial Day is known to many as the ofﬁ cial beginning of summer, but it is so much more. Every year on the ﬁ nal Monday of May people across the nation set aside a day and remember the sacriﬁ ces that brave men and women have made to the country by serving in the Armed Forces. This tradition has been observed since the Civil War. Being a military town, Memorial Day has a special importance to the Fayetteville community. Accordingly, the community also has incredible Memorial Day celebrations.
Don Talbot, the event organizer, has something in common with many people in the Fayetteville community — prior military service. It is because of this prior service that this Memorial Day Ceremony holds such importance to him, and he continues to help organize it year after year.
Talbot spoke about his passions for Memorial Day by saying, “I am a retired veteran, and it is touching for me to say thanks because I made it out after three years in Vietnam with only two Purple Hearts. At some point you just have to look back and think about all the comrades you left behind.”
Talbot expresses this passion every year by working tirelessly to create an incredibly moving ceremony for all of Fayetteville. It is a time to reﬂ ect on the sacriﬁces of the men and women in our community who gave their lives in defense of our nation. The ceremony will embrace the true meaning of the day, and will be held in the park that is expressly dedicated to their honor.
“We want people to know that this is a formal military-oriented memorial service to praise the missing and dead soldiers and those who have served. This is a family-friendly event because families are affected. The soldiers are husbands, brothers and grandfathers ... mothers, even,” Talbot said.
The entire community has rallied for this ceremony. There is no one single group that is solely supporting the ceremony, but rather a multitude of people gathering to honor the nation’s veterans.
“There are multiple people involved. There will be a chaplain, a guest speaker, a ﬁ ring squad from the 82nd Airborne Division, a bugler and wreath presenters. There are lots of groups in this, not just one core group. It is a true cross spectrum of the community,” Talbot explains.
It is this great community support that has allowed the ceremony to grow. Originally, it began as a small ceremony of less than 100 people in the City Hall Plaza in 1999. Now the ceremony is held in Freedom Memorial Park, which is dedicated expressly to veterans. Last year more than 800 people attended. The park now has bleachers that seat 300 and there are restroom facilities available. There is parking close by for the disabled, and additional parking at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 27 at Freedom Memorial Park. The park is located at 101 Bragg Blvd. For more information, contact Talbot at 867-7776. Admission is free and seating is limited. It is advised to bring lawn chairs.
Photo: Being a military town, Memorial Day has a special importance to the Fayetteville community.