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Cornelius News

Hundreds attend Memorial Day service

May 30. A touching Memorial Day ​service on the lawn at Town Hall yesterday focused on America’s fallen soldiers ​dating back to the Revolutionary War.

​The event was hosted by American Legion Post 86, which also provided the 21-gun salute, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.​

​Keynote speaker Lt. Col.​ Shawn Cowley, a retired Senior Army Instructor at Hopewell High read from letters service men and women sent to family and spouses in the event they were killed in the line of duty.

Pat Tillman

One of the letters Cowley read was from Pat Tillman, the promising young NFL player who joined the US Army in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Tillman served several tours in combat before he died in the mountains of Afghanistan. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals.

In one of the letters to his wife he said: “Through the years I’ve asked a great deal of you, therefore it should surprise you little that I have another favor to ask. I ask that you live.”

Tillman also wrote this: ​”​It’s difficult to summarize 10 years together, my love for you, my hopes for your future, and pretend to be dead all at the same time . . . I simply cannot put all this into words. I’m not ready willing or able.​” He was killed in action in 2004. It was later determined that the cause was friendly fire.​

More than 1 million American soldiers have died so that we might live in freedom, Cowley said. 

The welcome was given by Mayor Chuck Travis, the invocation by Rev. David Judge, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Cornelius.

In addition to American Legion Post 86, the Posting of the Colors was conducted by JROTC from Hopewell High and Hough High.

​Soldiers from each of America’s military branches stood during the musical “Patriot Salute” from the Mooresville Senior High School Choir, under the direction of Melanie Kalkan. ​

Post 86 also used American flags to decorate the graves of hundreds of soldiers buried at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam said between 200 and 250 people attended the ceremony adjacent to the Veteran’s Monument at Rotary Plaza.