County pauses to honor the ultimate sacrifice

By Larry Tucker
Posted 6/1/22

After a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood County veterans held a Memorial Day service at the memorial monument on the courthouse square.

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County pauses to honor the ultimate sacrifice


After a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood County veterans held a Memorial Day service at the memorial monument on the courthouse square. There were over 75 people in attendance.

After opening remarks from Army veteran Bobby Grant and invocation from Air Force veteran Billy Grant, Air Force veteran Joe Sayles led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Jim Attaway introduced the event speaker, Jason Attaway, Army veteran paratrooper. Jason served two tours in Iraq and lives with his family at Lake Quitman.

Jason gave the distinctions between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“Veterans Day is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” Jason said. “Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. We come together to remember all of those who have sacrificed their lives defending our freedom in service to our great country.”

He said, “The day originates from the ending of the Civil War and was originally known as Decorations Day. In 1971, Congress officially established the last Monday of May to be the day we as a country observe Memorial Day. As it stands today over one and a quarter million Americans have paid the ultimate price for our country.

“From the fields of Gettysburg, through the waters of the Hudson River, into the trenches in France, storming the beaches in Normandy, the deserts of northern Africa, across the skies of Europe, hopping islands in the Pacific to the cold mountains of Korea, through the jungles of Vietnam, the sands of the Middle East and continuing to this day in operations conducted around the world, we have met the call wherever it may be. It is today we honor our heroes who did not make it back.”

Jason spoke personally of two soldiers he served with in Iraq who lost their lives, Sgt. Jonathan Lootens and 1st Lt. Joshua Dees. The soldiers were killed by an explosion when a car crashed into their Humvee and it detonated another explosion which took their lives. They were only a quarter-mile from the base. They had been in combat in the city of Kirkuk, Iraq. Jason was the gunner and was serving in the 25th Infantry division.

He recalled other soldiers and friends who died in the line of duty: SSG Paul Johnson, Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, CSM Donavan Watts and Cpl. Phillip J. Brodnick. He said, “I remember you this day and always. You will live through me.”

In closing, Jason said, “Many of us have connections to these brave heroes. Please take time to share with others today and every day the history of who they are and what they did for us all.”

The tradition of raising the flag from half-mast to full was done by Bobby Grant. Only this year, the flag was raised and then lowered to half-mast again in honor of the children and adults who lost their lives in the mass shooting in Uvalde.