TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — On a steamy Memorial Day morning in Tuscaloosa, the young and the young-at-heart gathered together and braved the heat at Tuscaloosa’s Memorial Park. They were there together for a Memorial Day ceremony.
The duration of the event – an hour – is a small price to pay for the ceremony meant to remind those in attendance of the meaning of sacrifice. Gene Watson, a veteran who served in the Merchant Marines from 1943 to 1947, never misses the Memorial Day ceremonies.
“It gives you back old feelings you had when you were young. Makes me feel good,” Watson said.
As the ballad of each military branch played, veterans stood and saluted. For some in attendance, the ballads transport them back in time.
“It was some kind of an experience to be on a wooden minesweeper,” said James Hixon. “You really didn’t know when one of those were going to go off. Some of the ones, when they first went off under the ship, they’d scare you to death.”
As the familiar, somber tune of “Taps” plays for the crowd, everything goes respectfully silent. A wreath was laid at the Alabama Purple Heart Memorial to honor those wounded or killed in battle.
Those in attendance are well aware what veterans did allowed them to be there on a warm Tuscaloosa morning.
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