By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News
For longer than anyone can remember, rain or shine, people gather at Lambirth Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant each Memorial Day weekend to honor the soldiers buried there.
Despite the 100-degree heat index, over a dozen sat under the shade of the trees right inside the gate of the cemetery on Sunday, May 27 to remember the men and women who laid down their life for their country.
For one family, four generations participated in the remembrance service. Stacie Brown, of Lockridge, grew up attending the Memorial Day service with her parents and was often chosen to recite the Gettysburg Address, an honor she now hopes her four-year-old and one-month-old children will eventually continue.
?To me, stuff like this, a lot of places don?t keep up with the memory of it,? Brown said. ?I grew up seeing the importance of it and with my kids now, carrying it on.?
This year, Southeastern Community College student and Mt. Pleasant resident Lindsey Moeller quietly yet with conviction read the Gettysburg Address from a clipboard.
?The tradition is important because it?s America. It?s what we were built on,? Moeller said following the service.
John Bice, who has served on the Lambirth Cemetery board since 1982, said there are 45 soldiers buried at the cemetery.
A military man himself, Bice has seen the crowd that comes to Lambirth Cemetery for Memorial Day each year dwindle. However, he said those who do come are like a family. While there are ?few descendants? to keep it running, he believes the tradition will always continue.
In his message, pastor of Round Prairie Baptist Church in Lockridge Kevin Dice echoed the sentiment of those in attendance, saying that he is afraid the younger generations are not being taught to honor the men and women who have given their lives, so others can have freedom.
?We live in the greatest nation in the world,? Dice said. ?I was raised to be proud of my country. I stand when the national anthem is played and I sing it loud and clear.?
Dice cited from the Bible John 15:13 as a reminder that there is no greater love than someone laying down their life for a friend. Calling the soldiers buried at the cemetery heroes, Dice remembered the other 1 million service people who died in action.
Free speech, the right to bear arms, religious freedom was fought by those who could not take no for an answer, Dice said.
?The greatest freedom we can enjoy also comes with the greatest sacrifice that could ever be made,? Dice said, tying that sacrifice in with Jesus? sacrifice when he died on the cross as a penalty for sin.
When Dice concluded, flowers were handed out for people to place on graves marked with flags. Soldiers buried at Lambirth Cemetery fought in wars from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War.