Smyrna ceremony honors military’s sacrifices to defend freedom

CLAYTON –– Despite early morning rain showers, the town of Smyrna was able to carry on with its 70-year tradition of honoring veterans with a Memorial Day ceremony thanks to the cover of Clayton Fire Hall.

“There’s one thing this day means to me and it’s the celebration and camaraderie with my heroes,” said Wesley College President Robert Clark, a 32-year Navy veteran. “It’s not every day that you find yourself among your heroes.”

Both veterans and members of each branch of the service were in attendance of the ceremony and were recognized as their branch’s song played.

“Yes, we have rivalries like after Navy games we say, ‘beat Army,’ but when you have the privilege of serving day in and day out, at the end of the day when that sun sets, all our colors come together and turn into red, white and blue,” Mr. Clark said. “Although we are rivals on the field, we are brothers and sisters in arms for eternity.”

Smyrna Mayor, Joanne Masten made a proclamation authorized by Town Council to recognize the service men and women of Smyrna.

“We are very proud to be home to so many courageous men and women who have worn the uniform, defended our great nation and have fought for out liberty and peace around the globe,” Mayor Masten said. “Let us reflect with a spirit pf gratitude upon the sacrifices our armed forces and their families have made in the defense of freedom.”

Tradition holds that the ceremony be closed with the firing of a 21-gun salute by the Honor Guard but due to the poor weather, the Honor Guard stood silent, while a bugle from the Fire Company band played Taps.

Before the ceremony concluded, various organizations such as the American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars made monetary donations or handed over American flags to help maintain the Smyrna Clayton Veterans Memorial located in Smyrna Town Park.

If you or your organization would like to make a donation to the Smyrna Clayton Veterans Memorial Fund, call Tom Emerson at 302-363-1021 or email

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