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BUTNER — The Soldier’s Memorial statue was the backdrop for Monday’s annual Memorial Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Gazebo Park.
The town of Butner hosts the event each year to honor those who have served and remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for America’s freedoms.
Staff Sgt. David Tupper, the guest speaker for the ceremony, began his speech with a prerecorded excerpt from the late President Ronald Regan’s 1984 speech about Memorial Day. Tupper said that speech set the tone for the day.
Tupper then spoke about his deployments and the injuries he received during his fourth combat tour to Afghanistan as he led the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines into battle.
He mentioned how an RPG landed feet away from his location and he was knocked unconscious and thrown in the air from the explosion. Tupper said he suffered spinal injuries and damage to his bladder from the shrapnel.
Tupper added he now wears a bracelet to help him remember the names of fallen comrades and the sacrifices they have made.
Hailey Diamond, from Butner-Stem Middle School, Luke Lowery of Falls Lake Academy, and Rebecca Coor each read their Memorial Day essays. They described the origins of Memorial Day and shared a memory from those that had served.
Retired Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry, executive director of the Veterans Life Center in Butner, spoke briefly about the Veterans Life Center and wanting to reach out to the community to be a part of the healing process for many of the veterans.
The South Granville Band performed several selections and the South Granville JROTC presented the colors and honored each branch of the military.
Mayor Terry Turner and members of the JROTC then assisted with the laying of the wreath.