BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) —In a lot of ways, Calhoun and Liberty Counties are rivals.
However, the two communities joined together on Memorial Day to remember and honor those who gave their lives serving in the military.
The two counties have a long tradition of service in our nation’s wars, many of their young sons have lost their lives serving.
“We read the names off and ring the bell which signifies the final fall,” Calhoun County’s Veterans Service Officer Robert Daniels said. “And at the end of that, the 21-gun salute, which is an honor. And then the solemn playing of the taps and that’s the ultimate honor for these guys that paid the price for us.”
The 74 veterans who were honored lost their lives in either World War I, World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War.
“We’re going to do our part in little Calhoun County and Liberty County to honor the men and women of our county that paid that ultimate sacrifice for us,” Daniels said.
Among those in attendance were veterans who came home, but lost lifelong friends and classmates during the war.
“Quite a few, William Bason, Jimmy Sexton, Sonny Clark,” United States Navy Seaman Dowling Parrish said.
For years the communities held a similar Memorial Day event, but the ceremony was put on pause after Hurricane Michael.
“It’s been four years since anything of this scale has been done,” Daniels said. “They have taken it on they come out every year and just change the reef. But it was time to wake folks back up. Let’s get back on track.”
Calhoun County Commission Chairman Gene Bailey said he hopes these types of events will help educate younger generations.
“We got to remember the past because the past really kind of foretells a future. So and that’s one reason that it’s important, you know, that we have these ceremonies and all and remember the sacrifices that the people have given so we can have these freedoms,” Bailey said.
Daniels said he hopes the Calhoun and Liberty’s combined ceremony will continue for many more years.