Rain doesn’t deter waterfall ceremony
by The Press and Standard | May 31, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: May 30, 2018 at 10:46 am
The rain stayed away from the Waterfall Plaza the morning of May 28 as area residents gathered for the annual Memorial Day Ceremony conducted by the Colleton County Veterans Council.
Master of Ceremonies Donald Davis brought the keynote speaker to the podium with the words “our own Dr. Joe.”
Dr. Joseph Flowers, Davis pointed out in the introduction, graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his residency before becoming a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corp with the rank of captain. Flowers served from 1962-1964, while America was at war in Vietnam.
But it was not his recollections of his time in the military that Flowers brought to the podium — it was a time much earlier in his life.
Flowers was a youngster growing up in the midst of World War II. A radio and a very tall antenna was Flowers’ only connection to the world outside Colleton County.
His memory is still vivid of sitting in front of that radio on Dec. 8, 1941 as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation following the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan.
As America went to war, Flowers said, “Everyone pitched it.” All able bodied men went off to fight, women stepped into the factory jobs left vacant.
He remembered victory gardens and rationing. Windows with blackout curtains, blue stars in the windows of the residents who were serving in the military, gold stars in the homes where a family member had fallen.
He remembers “the great battles fought, the many tens of thousands of our boys and girls still lying in graves over in Europe.”
He remembers the Tuskegee Airmen who trained for battle in Walterboro. “They served our country well,” he said.
“We owe all our men and women for what they did. The sacrifice of all, a national effort for the preservation of our county,” Flowers said. “Too many times today we take that for granted.”
Flowers pointed out that America had downsized its military following World War I, believing that there would never be another major war.
America was wrong then. He suggested we learned “we will never live without tyrants in the world.”
“One thing that concerns me greatly,” Flowers said, “is our lack of support by our Congress for the veterans.”
“We can do a lot better for veterans then we are doing today. Our Congress has a responsibility to do so,” Flowers said.
He said that Congress does not address those concerns because many of them never served. “Unless you’ve been there, done that, you don’t know what sacrifices were made.”
“We can never thank our veterans enough. Each time you see a veteran or one of our officers protecting us locally, please say thank you to them. A thank you means a lot.”
Ebony Edwards performed the Star Spangled Banner at the beginning of the ceremony and Kimberly Barnes lent her voice to a musical interlude prior to the laying of the wreath.
The members of the Colleton County High School NJROTC Color Guard conducted the presentation of the colors, posting of the colors and the retrieval of colors while members of Girl Scout Troop 445 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Janet D. Smith, Colleton County Veterans Affairs officer, read the governor’s Memorial Day proclamation.
Walterboro Mayor William Young and Colleton County Councilman Evon Robinson offered the welcome.
Minister Anna S. Bright of Friendship Liberty Baptist Church offered the invocation and benediction.