VFW and Ladies’ Auxiliary Observe Memorial Day
Members of the community joined the VFW and Ladies’ Auxiliary at a Memorial Day ceremony to remember those who lost their lives in military service. The annual event was held on Monday afternoon at the small auditorium of Southeastern Technical Auxiliary Club District President Shirley Curl opened the program with the traditional moment of silence, which is observed nationwide at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to honor those who died fighting for this country.. The program featured the performance of TAPS by Vidalia High School Student Hunter Loosberg, The National Anthem sung by Diane Mc-Bride, the posting of the colors by a regiment from Fort Stewart, the reading of the names of local fallen soldiers throughout several wars, and a keynote address by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Heather D. Doran from Fort Stewart.
LTC Doran earned her Masters of Business Administration with concentration in international finance in December 2005. Her assignments through- continued from page
out her military career include Command Analyst, Army Budget Office in the Pentagon, Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management, and Controller at the Pentagon.
“Memorial Day is a day of national awareness and solemn reverence — a day for us to honor the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our nation, its values, and our freedom,” Doran emphasized. “Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to stop and think about brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation.”
She went on to explain the history of Memorial Day, which was first known as “Decoration Day.” Doran shared that “Decoration Day” was first celebrated after the Civil War, when Americans would remember their loved ones by placing flowers and flags upon their graves. She also stressed the importance of remembering Vietnam Veterans on the 50th anniversary of the war. “We remember those who fought in difficult conditions. I’d like to introduce you to some of those who did their duty for a country that didn’t fully appreciate it at the time,” she remarked. “A little over 2 million Americans served in uniform in Vietnam in Southeast Asia, and 58,200 were casualties. Army nurses served, and more than 700 were members of the Women’s Army Corps.” She continued, “The Army stationed many nurses close to the front lines to provide support to soldiers, which put them in constant danger without the protective equipment that was issued to the men.” According to Doran, one of the first nurses to be killed in action in Vietnam was 2nd Lieutenant Carol Ann Drazba from Dunmore, Pennsylvania, who died alongside another nurse when their helicopter went down. One soldier was so moved by his experience with Lt. Drazba that he would send her mother flowers every Mother’s Day in honor of the fallen soldier. Doran continued to remember heroic stories, as well as tense stories of hand-tohand combat, of several others who did not survive the Vietnam War. “There are many more examples of men and women across the ages who exhibited the Army Corps values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage,” she told the crowd. “These values continue to serve as a guide for the force.” Curl also reminisced about her experience with military veterans in the community. “Sometimes, it is good to look back and remember who someone was, and be able to share that with others,” she commented. The program also featured a performance of a patriotic melody as a salute to veterans by the Toombs County Vocal Arts Department, which is led by Rachel Davis and Matthew Kersey, as well as a prayer by Richard Dunlop from VFW Post #3563.