SELLERSBURG — Tony Henson, commander of American Legion Post 204 in Sellersburg, was in the U.S. Army Reserve during the Vietnam War Era — but wasn’t drafted.
“I kind of lucked out,” Henson said.
At a Memorial Day service Monday, Sellersburg residents honored those American soldiers who paid the ultimate price, joining several other services across Clark and Floyd counties that remembered the men and women who died serving the country in war.
Memorial Day is an American tradition that began almost 150 years ago with the decoration of graves three years after the Civil War ended. In 1966, former President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day and Congress declared the day a national holiday in 1971.
Sellersburg honored those who died in war by placing wreaths at three war monuments, lowering the American flag to half-staff, and delivering a three shot volley before ending to the tune of “Taps.”
Henson said the day is an important one because it reminds Americans the sacrifices that others have made for the nation’s freedom.
“It’s trouble sometimes — they don’t remember,” he said.
Timothy Sells, a Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, said he could go on all day about the importance of observing Memorial Day.
“These guys, they had nothing in the world to do with anything that happened, and they went out there and flat out died for us,” Sells said. “They deserve everything in the world from us.”
Sells’ granddaughter, Megan Hicks, spoke at the service about putting aside arguments and political differences to come together and honor the nation’s veterans.
“There’s only one side: freedom,” Hicks said.
While some treat the holiday just as an extra day off from work, Hicks thanked those in attendance who chose to remember the fallen.
“They did not choose to die,” she said. “They chose to live with purpose.”New Albany also honored deceased veterans with a firing squad and wreath ceremony.