Memorial Day Ceremony at Novant Health Matthews Medical Center

Guest Speaker and Army veteran Tom Rieman. (Ed Berti)
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Three American Legion veterans. (Ed Berti)
Drill Team execution. (Ed Berti)
Wreath laying ceremony. (Ed Berti)
VFW Veterans in attendance. (Ed Berti)
Novant Executive Roland Bibeau. (Ed Berti)
Sun Valley High School Drill Team. (Ed Berti)
VFW Veterans. (Ed Berti)
Veterans from American Legion Post 235, Matthews, NC. (Ed Berti)
Navy Veteran Bill Raum sings “Arlington.” (Ed Berti)
Service Flags Ceremony. (Ed Berti)

The annual Memorial Day Ceremony was held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the Novant Health Matthews Medical Center to honor our veterans and those who have fallen, the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

The ceremony was a solemn remembrance dedicated to those service members who died in all of our countries wars and conflicts throughout our history. Memorial Day this year falls on Monday May 27th. It is a day of “National Mourning” and it’s a tradition to fly an American Flag at half staff until twelve noon. So if you have a flag at your home or business it would be appropriate to respect to this expression of understanding the meaning of the holiday.

The event which began promptly at 10:00 on a cloudy morning would brighten as the day progressed. The opening was for all in attendance to look up to the sky and witness a flyover of a PT-26 WWII 1943 Fairchild. The pilots were Mia Langford and Alex Mellow.

Next Mike Urquhart sang “Amazing Grace” and the flag placement followed. The Sun Valley High School Band proudly played the National Anthem. With old glory blowing in the soft breeze, Roland Bibeau, Air Force Corpsman, President and Chief Operating Officer of the medical facility welcomed the attendees which consisted of veterans, family, medical personnel, police, fire, local citizens and the Sun Valley Navy JROTC. The opening prayer was made by Hunter Roddey, Chaplain at the Medical Center.

The Sun Valley Navy Junior ROTC now took over the ceremonies along with the Sun Valley band which included first posting of the colors and playing the armed forces medley for each branch which is always inspiring. The cadets and band did a fantastic job for the veterans and crowd at the event.

Then guitarist Bill Raum, Petty Officer 3rd Class, United States Navy veteran sang “Arlington” which silenced the crowd on hand as this is another solemn moment to celebrate those who are buried at the national cemetery.

The wreath laying ceremony was next on the agenda. It has a significant meaning for the occasion. It’s circular shape represents eternity, for it has no beginning and no end. From a Christian religious point of view, the shape represents a never ending circle of life. The evergreen, the plant most frequently used in the making of wreaths, symbolizes growth and everlasting live. The wreath laying ceremony was performed by the Sun Valley navy JROTC, and quest speaker Tom Rieman, Staff Sergeant, United States Army retired.

The Navy JROTC cadets drill team did an outstanding job and performed their drills with flawless precision. At the completion of the drills, Mr. Bibeau would introduce the guest speaker Tom Rieman a combat veteran who shared his story during his deployment and return home including the psychological wounds of war.

On this Memorial Day, we also pay tribute to the law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders, who have all made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our communities and nation.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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