Fort Mitchell National Cemetery hosts memorial service for falle - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Mitchell National Cemetery hosts memorial service for fallen veterans

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The Fort Mitchell National Cemetery hosted a memorial service to honor fallen soldiers on Sunday, May 26.

James Talton, Director of Healthcare Services for Veterans in Alabama, gave the keynote address. He communicates regularly with wounded veterans who have seen the horrors of war firsthand.

Talton shared about one soldier recounting a time spent swimming for several days in the ocean after his ship was torpedoed by the Japanese. "He talked about his battle buddy, who like himself, was afraid to sleep for fear of shark attack.  So they took turns day and night, one keeping watch while the other slept," He said. "The third day in the sea he awakened to see what he thought, that, too exhausted and too famished, they had both fallen asleep, so he touched his friend to shake him awake.  And as he did, his friend's torso bobbed over, revealing that he had been dismembered at the waist by a shark."

Earl Hutchinson, Cemetery Support President, said "There's over 8,500 residents here at Fort Mitchell. We need to honor all of them, plus all of our veterans who are still alive, but will soon be here."

Representatives from local VFW and American Legion posts laid wreaths to commemorate

their fallen comrades. Wayne Mitchell of American Legion Alabama said, "My wife and I have been honored to do this for a number of years.  It's honoring our veterans who have gone before us.  If not for them, none of us would have the freedoms we do today.  It's the old saying, ‘Freedom is not free.' It's paid for in the blood of patriots."

Phyllis Ledbetter visited from Florida in honor of her late husband, SGM.. Curtis Ledbetter. "I come every year to say hello to him," she said, "and to thank all of our people, all of our troops, for what they do for us."

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