Memorial Day ceremonies in Columbus, Saluda honor fallen heroes 

Published 12:49 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Local organizations conduct ceremonies in Polk County 


POLK COUNTY–Men and women of the armed forces who died while serving were honored this Memorial Day with ceremonies in Columbus and Saluda.

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Events took place at Polk Memorial Gardens and Veterans Park on Gibson St. in Columbus, and in Saluda at Saluda Veterans Park.

It was the 45th year the VFW 9116 conducted the ceremonies, which included members of the Polk County Memorial Honor Guard, American Legion Post 250 and VFW Post 10349. The organizations also conduct military funeral rites for veterans, participate in parades, and conduct presentations of flags to various organizations, most recently the Tryon International Equestrian Center in recognition of Memorial Day. 

On Saturday, May 27, the VFW and its affiliates placed over 700 American flags in cemeteries throughout Polk County ahead of the ceremonies.

The ceremony at Polk Memorial Gardens on Memorial Day included lowering the American flag to half-staff and placement of red, white and blue roses and the American flag in honor of fallen service members. The presentation was followed by a 3-round volley gun salute and a bugler playing Taps. 

Anita Williamson sang the national anthem at the event, and Poppy King David Scott Preston recited a speech and received a plaque of recognition from the VFW.

“Memorial Day is a national holiday to honor those that died during wartime,” said Commander of VFW Post 9116 Michael Collins, who served as a military policeman during the Vietnam War. “Today we want to honor those patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

After the Saluda ceremony, the veterans got ice cream at M.A. Pace General Store, a tradition they’ve held since 2016.