Veterans, supporters gather to honor fallen, dedicate new memorial

·2 min read

May 29—Cullman's annual Memorial Day observance ceremony drew a crowd of nearly 200 veterans along with their families, friends and guests to recognize those who gave their lives in service to their country.

Members of the Cullman VFW and Ladies Auxiliary shared the significance of the POW/MIA memorial and guest speakers, Cullman County Commission chairman Jeff Clemons and Alabama state senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman), expressed their gratitude to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

The ceremony at Cullman Veterans Memorial Park at Sportsman Lake also marked the commemoration of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Rose Garden. The new memorial, provided by the Cullman Community Lions Club, is to honor the memory of America's unknown fallen service members.

"It (The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) has become a symbol for all members of the military, throughout all of American conflicts," said Ron Seybold with the Lions Club.

Seybold said after the recent centennial anniversary of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lions Club members decided to create a local monument honoring unknown service members killed in action.

"We wanted to add to the beauty and the importance of this park," said Seybold addressing the crowd. "It's not only to remember the Unknown Soldier, but to remember all those that have served. Some gave their lives, some were lucky to come back home. It is to remember everyone that has served in our armed forces throughout the years. Hopefully it'll be a peaceful place you can come and reflect. Remember your loved ones and pray for those that are in harm's way, defending this great nation."

According to Cullman Community Lions Club President Bob Manney, due to supply chain issues, a temporary memorial will mark the garden until the granite memorial can be engraved.

A variety of issues — uptick in pandemic related deaths, increased shipping costs due to inflation, a lack supplies, and fewer workers to extract raw granite — has put the industry up to a year behind schedule.

A program distributed Saturday expressed appreciation to those who helped make the memorial possible, including: Cullman County Commission, City of Cullman Sanitation, Cullman Master Gardeners, Sportsman Lake Park staff, Van Hutchins, Brandon Jowers and Blacksheep Backyards, LLC and owner Tyler Wyatt.