CRUMPLER — Hundreds gathered at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel & Gardens in honor and remembrance of the military members who died fighting for America’s freedom on a sunny Sunday, May 26.

Graves adorned with stars, stripes and flowers fluttered in the breeze. Ashe County High School JROTC cadets bore each of America’s 50 state flags while music from the ACHS Jazz Ensemble and prayers were offered up in honor of fallen soldiers, airmen, seamen and coast guardsmen.

According to veteran speaker Shuford Edmisten of Hendersonville — who served in Vietnam and has since been an advocate for veterans through the American Legion, and a variety of other organizations — more than 1 million American men and women have died fighting for their country since the Revolutionary War.

“Long after the guns have been silenced and the bombs stopped exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent,” Edmisten said. “Spouses will continue to miss their life partners, and parents will never stop grieving for their heroic sons and daughters that died way too early.”

Edmisten read the names of fallen soldiers buried in Ashe County, and the circumstances of their deaths, in order to keep their memories alive.

Ashe County Honor Guard fired a three-volley salute, taps was played, JROTC marched off with the flags, and the crowd began to disband.

Badger Funeral Home owner Josh Roten said Sunday’s ceremony was the 52nd annual Memorial Day event held at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel & Gardens.

“This is the largest Memorial Day service in the region,” Roten said. “We had a wonderful crowd, I’d say we were probably pushing 450 to 500 people.”

Roten said he was grateful for the Ashe County Veterans, ACHS JROTC and Jazz Ensemble, Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, Ashe County Medics and all who attended.

For a photo gallery of the event, go online to www.ashepostandtimes.com.

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