Opelika observes Memorial Day, remembers those who gave ultimate sacrifice
By Morgan Bryce
A crowd of more than 300 people attended Opelika’s Memorial Day service, held in front of city hall on Monday.
The service consisted of an hour-long program featuring patriotic music, a reading of the famous World War II poem “In Flanders Fields,” and a speech given by Opelika’s own war hero Jody Fuller.
Veterans from America’s wars since World War II were in attendance, and for World War II veteran Earl Sumners and Vietnam veteran Charles Stringer, the significance of this day is not lost.
“I can’t even begin how to explain how much Memorial Day means to me. I know that fellow veterans and I look forward to this every year, and it gives us a chance to remember those that didn’t make it,” Sumners said.
Stringer said he views Memorial Day as a “celebration” of sorts.
“I see it as a celebration of those gave the ultimate sacrifice; their lives in order to keep our country free. And for those of us that are still here, this day is a way to help us not forget the sacrifices our soldiers make,” Stringer said.
High school senior Josh Gatlin said that seeing all the veterans and knowing about America’s past has made him truly appreciate the meaning and significance of Memorial Day.
“Freedom isn’t free, and I know that many paid for the price of freedom that we enjoy today. That’s why I think it’s great that we set aside a day to remember and honor them,” Gatlin said.
After the service concluded, the Museum of East Alabama held a ice-cream social for all those in attendance.