By Natalie Anderson
Staff Reporter

The City of Opelika held a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday honoring the lives of those who have died fighting for our freedom.  The program opened with a slideshow presentation of photos from previous Memorial Day events and of those like Ike Dorsey, Captain Chris Wallace and more that fought and died in America’s wars and conflicts.

Following the slideshow, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and his wife Laura welcomed viewers to the event with the following statement.

“We understand this is quite a bit different from what we have done in the past years, but with COVID-19, this is the best way we could join together to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country. Thank you for being here and I hope you enjoy the 2020 virtual Memorial Service.”  “God Bless America,” Laura added.

Senior Pastor of First United Methodist, Robin Wilson led viewers in prayer.

“We thank you Almighty God, this day for all our brothers and sisters who have served this country so well and who have given of themselves the ultimate sacrifice… they have laid down their lives so that we might enjoy every freedom of this nation.”

The ceremony included performances by De De Jackson who sang “America the Beautiful,” while accompanied on piano by Altwone Littelton.  Local musician and song writer Dallas Dorsey, performed “Go Rest High on that Mountain,” which was written by American country music artist Vince Gill in 1994.

Jody Fuller, comic, speaker, writer and soldier who completed three tours of duty in Iraq, led the ceremony as the main speaker.  “Memorial Day is to remember and honor those men and women who died while serving in the military,” said Jody.

Jody honored the lives of those who he knew personally, along with all the courageous men and women through the years who fought and continue to fight for our freedom. Jody included a moment to honor Medal of Honor Recipient, Major Bennie G. Adkins who recently died after battling COVID-19.  “Bennie was an amazing, amazing, amazing man,” Jody stated.

“I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day and take a second to remember those who continue to fight to make this nation the greatest on Earth.”

Ella Kate and Maxwell Battles, the children of Opelika’s Municipal Area Supervisor Matthew Battles shared poems that encouraged others to remember the purpose of Memorial Day and honor the lives of those who have fought for our country.

The ceremony was 25 minutes long and is available to view on the Opelika City Government YouTube Channel