Honoring those who gave all

Published 7:27 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

The community joined together Monday morning at the Veteran’s Park to honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

The annual Memorial Day Ceremony was hosted by the Oxford veteran groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3978, the American Legion Post 55, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 48 and the Marine Corp League Willie Morris Jones Det. 1431.

While most of the ceremony was much like others held at the park in the past, a special event made this year’s ceremony much more special to many.

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The Veteran’s Park, built in 2009, was renamed to the Randal Earl Loyed Veterans Park during the ceremony, in honor of the late Randal Loyed.

Loyed died at 77 years old on March 30 at the State Veterans Home. He served in the U.S. Navy in the Dominican Republic. After retirining he came to Oxford where he served as the commander of the Oxford VFW for five years and then three years as the VFW State District Commander. He was instrumental in getting the Veterans Park built, as well as establishing the Lafayette County Purple Heart Memorial Highway.

A new sign bearing his name was placed at the front of the park during the ceremony.

The Memorial Day Ceremony kicked off with the invocation by Bro. James Petermann, who also did the benediction to close the ceremony. The national anthem was performed by Melanie Manuel Beard.

Lafayette County Supervisor and Board Present Brent Larson welcomed the crowd that gathered at the park under hot, sunny skies.

“Today, we honor those who have paid the ultimate price,” Larson said. “And unfortunately, the list of names is long. Their service is a testament to the strong will of Lafayette County residents.”

Master of Ceremonies was SMSgt. Dennis Bullard, commander of the American Legion Post 55. Boy Scouts Troop 45 posted the flags representing each branch of the U.S. Military. Later in the ceremony, they assisted with raising the flag to full staff.

The guest speaker was Ret. Col. David McElreath with the U.S. Marine Corp.

“Today is so much more than being part of a long weekend, the start of summer or hamburgers on the grill,” McElreath said. “It is a moment we take to pause and remember. Across the nation, we gather at cemeteries, monuments and parks, march in parades in cities big and small. And watch the annual memorial day concert on television. It is my hope, we do these things to honor the loyalty and bravery of our fallen in this noble calling of military service.”

Taps was performed by Sam Phillips.

Representatives from each branch of the military rang a bell to recognize those who served and gave their lives in that service.

A wreath was dedicated during the service and after the ceremony, it was placed on the Lafayette County Courthouse grounds.