Poppy Service held at American Village to honor veterans

By Steven Calhoun/Staff Writer

The American Village held a Poppy Service on Veterans Day to show thanksgiving and remembrance of all who have served our country.

The service began in the Colonial Chapel at 11 a.m. Attendees gathered in silence before hearing the opening readings, which included passages of scripture from the books of Psalms, Lamentations, Isaiah and Micah.

A prayer and a remembrance followed the scriptures. Then at 11:11, everyone observed a minute of silence.

The service continued with hymns, scriptures and The Lord’s Prayer. Then, those in assembly pledged to safeguard the hallowed ground, which had been brought from the beaches in France during World War II.

Part of the pledge reads: “With trust in God that he will aid us in this duty, we respectfully receive this hallowed ground, and we make a solemn commitment to safeguard it and to remember and share the stories of courageous service and personal sacrifice that this hallowed earth represents.”

Next was the singing of the National Anthem. Then there was a procession from the chapel to the National Veterans Shrine, where there was a reading of “In Flanders Fields,” a war poem written during World War I.

The hallowed ground was then enshrined in the monument in three containers. One container held soil from Utah Beach, another from Omaha Beach and the third from Pointe du Hoc.

Veterans Loren McAnally, Ronni McGriff and Chuck Bryan presented the small wooden containers to be enshrined by Nelson and Cassie Forbes and members of the American Village Board of Trustees.

After the hallowed grounds had been enshrined, the members of the board placed a wreath in front of the shrine. There was a playing of “Taps” by Dr. Joe Ardovino from the University of Montevallo, followed by a benediction and blessing.

After the program ended, those in attendance were invited to place a poppy at the monument and ring a large bell to honor a veteran or active military member. A line quickly formed as people showed their appreciation for those in service. Young and old participated in the solemn ceremony.

“I thought the ceremony was excellent. There was a lot of dignity and respect for the service members,” said Reginald N. Holloway, who has retired from service in the U.S. Army. “We as a nation, we could not be where we are today without our military men and women giving their lives to support our country and to advance us as a nation.”