DRAFFENVILLE – Judge/Executive Mike Miller remembered the victims of Friday’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school during Saturday’s Wreaths Across America event, a nationwide observance dedicated to the memory of American military men and women who have died in service.
Miller prayed for the 27 victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and their families.
“The tragedy that happened yesterday cannot be explained,” he said.
He then made a connection to Saturday’s ceremony.
“Our men and women on foreign soil in Iraq and Afghanistan face an uncertain future,” he said. “Our generation today should be the generation of hope. Our young people must be taught that freedom does not come easily.”
The fourth annual Marshall County event was one of 545 scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. local time at sites across the country, including Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery.
The ceremony proceeded with the laying of wreaths at Veterans Honor Plaza in Mike Miller Park by representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, as well as one in honor of America’s prisoners of war and those still listed as missing in action.
Miller noted that Ronnie Riley, who laid the POW-MIA wreath, is the son of a World War II prisoner of war, Talmadge Riley.
“Talmadge has always been my hero,” Miller said. “He never missed a ceremony at this park until today, because of illness. Ronnie, tell Talmadge we miss him so much.”
Wreaths were laid by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Nelson of Hilliard, Fla.; Air Force veteran Greg Smithers of Fairdealing; Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephen Long of Cincinnati; Marine Pvt. Korey Mayes of Marion; Navy veteran Duane Briggs of Symsonia; and Marshall County resident Ron Gray, representing the Merchant Marine.