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Memorial Day ceremonies planned in Talladega, Sylacauga, fundraiser in Pell City

Hall of Heroes Memorial Day Program

Talladega’s Hall of Heroes hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony Monday, May 27, 2019, at the Ritz Theatre with guest speaker Major General Sheryl Gordon. The ceremony included posting of the colors by the Talladega County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, Pledge of Allegiance led by Danny Warwick, and the national anthem sung by Gail Perkins. Retired Colonel Chuck Keith emceed the program. The program concluded with a wreath laying at the Talladega County Memorial Monument on the Courthouse lawn. The monument bears the names of Talladega Countians who lost their lives in service to our country.

TALLADEGA -- The Talladega Hall of Heroes Committee will hold a smaller, scaled-down version of the traditional Memorial Day observance Monday at 11 a.m. at the monument on the east side of the Courthouse Square. 

According to committee member Keela Brown, Jeff Wood will play the national anthem, and the colors will be presented by the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office’s honor guard. The Rev. Hugh Morris will give the invocation. 

Then, the names of the more than 200 Talladega County residents who have given their lives for their country will be read aloud.

“It will be a very brief ceremony. I’d be surprised if it lasted half an hour,” Brown said. “There’s not going to be a speaker and there won’t be any chairs set out. 

“We can’t reopen the museum yet, but we knew we had to do something for the occasion. But we want to be able to do it as safely as possible during the current situation. 

“We’re not doing a lot to promote it, but if people feel safe, we want them to come out. We’re not requiring people to wear masks and gloves, but if those things make them feel safer, then that’s fine.”

Sylacauga

Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl said American Legion Post 45 and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 945, both in Sylacauga, will come together at 7 a.m. Monday to conduct a Memorial Day service.

“We will set our flags at half-staff at the Legion and we’ll have a service there,” he said. “Then, we will commence to go down to the corner of Fort Williams (Street) and Norton Avenue, where we have our war memorials. We will have all our service flags and place them there as well as the wreaths, plus we’ll have the ceremony down there.”

Heigl, who serves as the elected commander of Legion Post 45 and has previously served as president of VVA Chapter 945, said the flag at the Chamber of Commerce will also be set at half-staff. The flags will remain at half-staff until noon.

“The American Legion is over 100 years old, and this has been their standard procedure in honoring all our fallen brothers,” he said. “Our memorials consist of World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

Childersburg

Childersburg Mayor Ken Wesson said the city would not be hosting any Memorial Day events.

“It’s such a troubling thing to get so many people together,” he said. “It’s just disappointing that we can’t do anything as a city to get together, get our citizens together and enjoy celebrating these special moments, but you have to balance that with the safety of the community. 

“When you try to put something together on a large scale, it’s also the problem of the turnout because there are a lot of people who are trying to self-quarantine and do the things they’re supposed to do. We appreciate that because that’s all going to help us get in a better place.”

Pell City

Pell City Manager Brian Muenger said the municipality does not have any plans to hold a Memorial Day service this year. Muenger said the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter leads the city’s program, and the municipality has not been in contact with the chapter. 

While the city has no plans at this time, Pell City Fitness is teaming up with Wright Equipment and Crossfit Logan Martin to put on the third annual "Murph" Charity Fundraiser and Veteran Memorial. 

Scott Campbell, who owns Pell City Fitness, said the fundraiser will be at the Avondale Walking Trail this year to accommodate social distancing. The event will be free for spectators, but $25 to participate. 

Campbell said donations are not required but are appreciated.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the veterans home,” Campbell said

He said that last year, the event raised $3,192.62 for the veterans home in Pell City.

Participants will be performing the “Murph” workout, which includes a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and another 1-mile run.

Campbell said the workout was named after Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, New York, who was killed in action in 2005 while serving in Afghanistan. 

Campbell said food will be provided at the event.

The Colonel Robert L. Howard Veterans Home will not hold any public events and will instead offer a pre-recorded program for residents to view on their TVs, according to Director Hilary Hardwick. 

Hardwick said while the public can not attend, the video will be made available on the veterans home’s Facebook page Monday for family and other well-wishers.

There will also be a barbecue lunch served for residents.

Others

Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup said his city would also not offer any ceremony, citing that he was not sure many people would be willing to attend.

Lincoln Mayor Lew Watson said his city also does not have any plans at this time.

Staff writers Shane Dunaway and Taylor Mitchell contributed to this story.

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