CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The names of Bradley County's war dead from World War I until now echoed around the courthouse square Monday, read by members of Chattanooga Composite Squadron 192, Civil Air Patrol, as part of a Memorial Day ceremony.
Likewise, the 192 names of Bradley County veterans who died during the past 12 months were read aloud by Mayor Tom Rowland, accompanied by a drum roll and taps from Cleveland High School band members.
"You are the living memory of those who gave their lives,'' retired U.S. Army Col. Richard Pace, the guest speaker, told the audience standing and sitting in the shade across from the Bradley Courthouse Plaza.
Some of the audience wore military uniforms from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.
Pace, coordinator of the Church of God Chaplains Commission, reminded the audience that no medals or folded flags can fill the hole in the hearts of mothers grieving for sons and daughters who gave their lives for the country.
No veterans of World War I are living now to tell their stories, said Civil Air Patrol cadet Matthew Blach.
"Only the history books can tell that story now,'' said the young cadet as he began reading the names of local men who died in that war.
He was followed by other CAP cadets reading the lengthy list of local dead from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.
Members of the Aldersgate Garden Club brought flowers to remember those who served, or are serving, each branch of the American military.
"I read where Memorial Day was set for the month of May because flowers would be in bloom for what was then called Decoration Day,'' Rowland said. "So these flowers are symbolic of the memories of those who have given so much, because in our hearts they will always be in bloom.''
Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at email@example.com or 423-314-1029.