The City of Mauldin gathered outside on the beautiful morning of Monday, May 27 at 11 am to pay tribute to those who lost their lives while serving our Country.
This tradition has been one to attend in Mauldin for the past 5 years.
Each year more interest is expressed in the remembrance of these special veterans and honoring their families with this Ceremony of tribute!
Mayor Dennis Raines, a Veteran himself gave the official welcome on behalf of the City and introductory remarks and recognitions.
The Naval Honor Guard from Donaldson Center Unit presented the colors.
There is a unique side story of 3 motorcyclists who arrived at the ceremony early and offered assistance setting up chairs, etc. They were returning from the Patriot Riders Honor Ride in Washington, DC remembering those on Memorial Day and came through Mauldin in route to Simpsonville for the return of one of their riders who is a resident of Simpsonville. They noticed our Mauldin banners about our ceremony and decided to stop by to attend or assist in any way needed. The other 2 riders were from Los Angeles, California. We were quite honored to have these 3 Riders present with us and, in fact requested “Stitch”, the President of the Riders to lead us in our Pledge to the American Flag. He was followed by a Navy Veteran and long-time Mauldin Resident, Joe McElveen to lead in our Invocation and later to share his story of serving in the Navy.
Patriotic Musical selections were shared by Minister Christopher and Tanika Dillard who have many ties with Mauldin and have Fathers and Uncles who were and are Veterans. Christopher later shared about a student from Mauldin High School; Army Sgt. Adrian J. Lewis who was killed in the line of duty on March 21, 2007 serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was a special time for us to reflect and remember one of our own.
A recording by Lee Greenwood was played of “God Bless the USA” as the guests reflected on those we had mentioned; and many who had stood earlier acknowledging they were family members of a soldier lost in their service for our country.
As is the usual practice; the wreath was placed by the Mayor at our Veterans Memorial as TAPS was played! Our Veterans came forward to take one of our memorial wreaths and recess behind the Naval Honor Guard as the colors were retired. These wreaths were placed at each of the memorials for wars on the Mauldin Veterans Memorial Walkway. The Veterans then stand with their monument and allow the audience guests to leave the ceremony and come through the walkway to acknowledge their service and offer words of appreciation!
As the pictures indicate, this has become a time where families with children of all ages make plans to attend and teach about these special times and share stories. These children also walk along with their parents and offer their tiny hands in appreciation to these special soldiers who are still with us.
At this ceremony, Janice Holcombe who has coordinated this event since 2015 and the Veterans Day Ceremony since 2008 submitted her retirement from directing and coordinating. She was surprised by the Mayor with a Proclamation in honor of her years of service.♦