Lt. Gov. Dalton leads Memorial Day service in Kannapolis
By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS ó About 200 people gathered at the Village Park Amphitheater on Monday to honor and remember those who served the country and sacrificed their time, and in some cases their lives, for the nation.
In his keynote address, N.C. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton invoked the legacy of freedom that began with Revolutionary War soldiers fighting for their new country. “You are in spirit, if not in blood, the descendants of those patriots,” he said.
Across the front of the stage below him were photos of Kannapolis residents who died in service to their country.
Gathered in front of him were veterans, including some who just returned from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the friends and loved ones of those who have passed on.
“All of you made this country great. … You answered the call and did not criticize, yet you fought for others’ rights to do so,” Dalton said.
He honored the sacrifices of veterans’ families as well.
“Each day they worried about you, each day they prayed. And they are proud of you,” Dalton said.
The ceremony was sponsored by American Legion Post 115 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8989.
Rep. Larry Kissell of North Carolina’s 8th District and Mayor Robert Misenheimer also spoke.
“You are among heroes today,” Kissell said. “The veterans who made so much possible for you are our heroes.”
The flags of the 50 states and the U.S. flag were presented by JROTC cadets from A.L. Brown and Northwest Cabarrus high schools.
The program included patriotic music by the A.L. Brown Chorus and other singers, a rifle salute by the Kannapolis Police Department honor guard and “Taps” played by trumpeters from A.L. Brown’s band.
For U.S. Navy veteran William A. Cash, the ceremony was moving and humbling. The Kannapolis man served from 1954 to 1972 as a sonarman.
“I think about all my shipmates standing watch 24 hours a day,” Cash said. “I know what they’re going through.”
Cash is part of a long tradition of military service. “I had an uncle at the Battle of the Bulge and a cousin at Anzio,” he said.
Asked what he hoped young people would take away from the ceremony, Cash said he hoped today’s veterans would be ensured the same care and respect his generation has.
“The ones who have lost their limbs, their eyes ó I hope we always take care of them,” Cash said.
Others have lost much more. Janice and David Badgley of Kannapolis said goodbye to their son, Master Sgt. Scott Badgley, just over two weeks ago.
Scott, an active duty U.S. Marine living in Pennsylvania, died May 9. He was a veteran of numerous tours of duty in the Middle East and elsewhere abroad.
His parents, who have lived in Kannapolis for three years, were overwhelmed with emotion after the ceremony.
“As bad as this has been, the thing I feel is pride,” David said.
“I’m so proud of him I’m bursting,” Janice said through her tears.
Asked what he hoped the people at the ceremony would keep in mind on Memorial Day, David said, “I just hope that they realize that everything they enjoy ó the music, the video games, everything ó that people sacrificed so they can do that.”