FORT BRAGG, N.C. –
U.S. Army Reserve Col. Andrew T. Love, G4 for the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) represented the Army Reserve while taking part in the 2021 Memorial Day ceremony at Freedom Memorial Park, Fayetteville, N.C., May 31, 2021.
Veterans, local military personnel, community leaders, Veteran Service Organization representatives, and Gold Star Families filled the park with the local community for the Memorial Day ceremony.
The annual wreath-laying ceremony honors those Cumberland County, N.C. veterans and all those who have sacrificed and fallen in service to the defense of the Nation.
“The wreath laying is a solemn ceremony where we take a moment and honor all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Love. “It is an important act to honor the men and women who died for this amazing country and to remind people that their selfless service will not be forgotten.”
Love was invited to take part in the ceremony by the event organizers to lay a wreath at one of the six monuments in Freedom Memorial Park symbolizing World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Global War on Terrorism, and for Prisoners of War/Missing in Action and (POW-MIA).
The ceremony was punctuated by the playing of bagpipes, a 21-gun salute by members of the 27th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Airborne), and a rendition of Taps performed by a member of the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Band.
As taps played, Love placed a wreath representing those who served and were lost during World War I.
“A wreath laying is a formal sign of respect towards those being honored,” said Love. “It is a symbolic gesture, paying respect to our Fallen on behalf of all those who are able to exercise their freedom due to the sacrifices of those service members.”
As with many of the attendees of the Memorial Day ceremony here in the heart of America’s military community, this day holds a personal significance for Love.
“I was an Army brat before I joined (the Army) in the early 90's,” said Love. My Father was a Viet Nam vet who did several tours during the war and continued his service to later retire in the Army Reserve.”