Veterans: ‘Do something that makes America better’
The guest speakers at Butner’s annual Memorial Day ceremony were two military veterans who are local elected officials, and who are also married to each other.
Col. Ed Mims is retired from the U.S. Air Force after 26 years and now serves as a Granville County commissioner. Del Mims served in the U.S. Marines and is now a Creedmoor commissioner. They stood at side by side podiums in Gazebo Park as they asked those in attendance to vow to contribute in some way to making America better.
“We all know over the years, the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has faded from consciousness,” Ed Mims said, noting how it became a three-day weekend in 1971. Rather, it should be a national day of mourning, he said.
Del Mims said that on the cemetery markers of veterans who have died, there are small differences like dates and branches of service, but they are “so alike in purpose.”
“This year as we remember those who defend our great nation, we ask you to vow to never forget them, and to contribute to our great nation,” Ed Mims said.
The Mimses called out the number of North Carolinians who died in U.S. wars since World War I, in which 1,610 were killed. In World War II, 3,377 North Carolinians died. In Korea, it was 784. In Vietnam, it was 1,813. In the Persian Gulf/Desert Storm, 14. In Iraq, 111. And in Afghanistan, 404.
“When America calls, our family, friends and neighbors answered,” Ed Mims said. He called out more names, this time those from Granville County. Del Mims also spoke about women in the military.
“Not every G.I. is a Joe,” she said, pointing out that women have served proudly over the years from being nurses during World War I to combat pilots today.
“When it comes to duty, honor, country, our men and women set the greatest example,” Del Mims said.
She called on the audience to do something to contribute to society.
“Volunteer. Do something that makes America better,” Ed Mims said. “Pledge to set a good example, because it honors the memory of those we remember today.”