By Patty Montagno
Commemorating the spirit of the annual Memorial Day celebration was not dampened at all Saturday morning as Brett Franks and members of his committee morning arranged chairs and putting flags around city hall.
The wet and muddy conditions prevented the group from placing flags around the Sachse Historical Museum and cemetery but the celebration was still set to go.
Franks, a Sachse resident and city councilman, was in charge of the Memorial Day celebration planning committee.
About 70 people consisting of various residents, community leaders, elected officials, guests and city staff attended the ceremony May 25 at the entrance to city hall.
“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country,” Franks said. “ It is a day to remember all the people who have served – and are serving – in the armed forces, our surviving veterans and to honor those who have died in past wars.”
Franks reminded those in attendance that the origins of the day lie in the American Civil War that began in 1868 when members of the Grand Army of the Republic requested that their commander, General John A. Logan, decorate the graves of their fallen compatriots with flowers.
The ceremony began with a prayer by Pastor Josh King of Sachse First Baptist Church.
Cub Scout Troop 243 presented the Colors, Sachse High School student San Wynn sang the National Anthem and Mayor Mike Felix read a proclamation.
Lt. General US Army retired Charles Eichelberger and Seaman US Navy retired Bill Wisely, along with Felix, unveiled a massive red, white and blue wreath of flowers placed next to the Veterans Memorial in front of city hall.
The wreath was donated by Lizzie Bee’s Flower Shop.
“It is imperative to note the extreme sacrifice these amazing men and women made to keep our country free,” Franks said. “And what is so remarkable is that none of our courageous veterans expect any gratitude.”
Wisely, a Korean War veteran, also took featured speaker duties.
“I got in the navy because I was talked into it,” he said. “A high school friend got to me, so I joined up.”
Wisley said he went through boot camp at Lake Michigan in Illinois which he said “is one “of the coldest places on earth.”
“I thought I’d freeze to death up there,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to get to my first tour.”
Wisley said that boot camp was about seven weeks long. The goal of that was to be transformed from a civilian into a sailor with all the necessary skills “so we could join the fleet.
Wisley ended his career by serving on the USS Burlington in Korea.
“We were out at sea on patrol and were commanded to get closer to shore,” he said. “Our job was to destroy a Korean railroad tunnel that was being used to carry in supplies. They started shooting at us”
Wisley said the shooting went on for some time saying they did their job and got out. “Thankfully our ship was never hit but we spent a day picking shrapnel off the decks.”
Wisley said during the battle he remembers the ship “shaking so hard I thought it was going to come apart.” It was a blessing that we got out of there in one piece with no major injuries,” he said. “God was protecting us.”
City Councilman Bill Adams said he always consider it an honor to attend the event in recognition of those military personnel who died in the noble cause of preserving our freedoms and way of life.
“The only way to even try to repay the debt that they are owed is to continue to never forget, and, to publicly acknowledge their sacrifice to all Americans,” he said. “The event itself is very well thought out in its presentation and content to those in attendance. He said he would like to see more people taking 30 minutes out of their day to recognize those who have given their lives for this great nation.
At the end of the program, members of the Sachse Fire Department raised the flags to full staff as professional bugler Larry Quave played a stirring rendition of Taps.
“It was a very moving ceremony,” Franks said. “Remember, we enjoy so many freedoms because of the courageous veterans.”