World War II veteran Capt. Roxie Remley, who served during the war with the Women’s Army Corps, spoke Monday of the importance of remembering.
As she addressed a crowd of about 350 people at the Averitt Center for the Arts Emma Kelly Theater, Remley also spoke of women’s roles in the military and the history of the Arlington Cemetery.
The crowd was there for the annual Memorial Day celebration sponsored by the Dexter Allen Post 90 American Legion and the Averitt Center for the Arts, along with Vandy’s Restaurant and Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home.
“This is a day of remembrance and respect for all those who have served our country and passed away during service to our country,” she said.
As she talked about the Arlington National Cemetery, Remley recalled placing flowers on graves for “Decoration Day” before the holiday was officially changed to Memorial Day. Then, the significance escaped her, but she said when she viewed Arlington for the first time as an adult, the true meaning of the words “soldier’s grave” struck home.
She told the audience how Arlington House was once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee, for more than 30 years, before being seized by the government after the Civil War. The house was made into a memorial to Lee in 1929 and opened to the public, and the grounds were made into a cemetery for soldiers. Today the grounds hold more than 250,000 solder graves, she said.
She also spoke of how women’s roles have changed over the years regarding military service and mentioned a proposed bill that would “permit women in combat areas.”
In spite of changes over the years regarding the way women are treated in the military, “The stigma is still there,” she said.
Overall, Remley’s speech encouraged people to keep Memorial Day alive by reminding others to remember.
“We each have an obligation to re-educated and remind others of the true meaning of Memorial Day,” she said. “It’s not just a three-day holiday. We do have an obligation – remind someone when you leave here today.”
Before her speech, Remley was honored by Jan Anderson with the Archibald Bulloch Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The award was for “Women in History.”
Dan Foglio, commander of Dexter Allen Post 90, also presented Remley with a plaque of appreciation.
The memorial program began with a prelude of patriotic music by Joe Sconyers. Several local veterans took turns intoning the names of Bulloch County residents who died during service to their country through several branches of military. The names listed were of those who lost lives during the following: World War I; World War II – Pacific Theater; World War II European Theater; Korean War; and the Iraqi War.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached t (912) 489-9414.