Washington County residents share what Memorial Day means


The Delta Democrat-Times asked its readers how they spent Memorial Day and what the day means to them. This is what they said.

LeDerek Swilley

Captain LeDerek Swilley, of the Greenville Fire Department, said he enjoyed a nice barbecue with his family on Memorial Day. He said those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country were never far from his mind.

“It is a day set aside for all of those we lost in battle,” Swilley said. “It is a day to remember those ladies and gentlemen who laid it all on the line. We never should forget them.” 

Steve Sweet

Commander of American Legion Post 32 Steve Sweet said it’s an important day to remember the sacrifice of American soldiers.

“Over the past several years, recognizing our veterans seems to have lost its importance. Our American Legion members disagree. Without the sacrifice of these past and present veterans, we would already be living under communism. I, for one, will honor their service for as long as I am able and always remember why we are a free nation. When you see the destruction of our American Flag, you need to ask yourself, ‘What did all these millions of men and women die to protect?’

Lorelei Vargas

United States Air Force Sargent Lorelei Vargas, who works at the Air Force Recruiting Center in Greenville, said she spent a nice, quiet Memorial Day at her home and reflected on why the day was so meaningful.

“To me, it is a day to honor those who served and fought and lost their lives for the freedom for the rest of us,” Vargas said. “Because they are no longer with us, it is important to realize that what they did was important. We always need to make sure that they are not forgotten.” 

Barbara Makeba

“Memorial Day is set aside to remember and show appreciation for the saints that gave their lives for our freedom and those that are still making the sacrifice for our country. We usually go out of town every Memorial Day to observe and relax. This year is different. We are enjoying the closeness of family and adjusting to a new way of life.”

Mary Jennings

Mary Jennings said she spent much of the day, “Remembering my nephew, Tony, a Persian Gulf War casualty.”

Edward Gathman

“Memorial Day is a day we remember those who gave the highest price for our freedom. I thank each of you and your families. These individuals are ones I personally have served with and miss them each day. Today, we remember them.”

Blossie Johnson

“Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. Americans were encouraged to use the time to lay flowers and other forms of decoration at the graves of soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. Today, as Americans celebrate, we also remember and honor those who fought and died that we may live free. My paternal grandparents sent three sons, including my dad, to World War II and God brought all three back to them. Although God loved every person who was sent, some never returned. They paid the ultimate price. It’s them we mourn and celebrate today.”

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