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As Sept. 11 approaches, Mike Tarpley and the local DAV chapter are gearing up for another ceremony. The ceremony â€” started in 2007 â€” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Big Spring Mall.
â€śThe original idea was to hold a ceremony at a flag pole out by Hangar 25 (Air Museum), but once I thought about it some more, we decided that it should be out here,â€ť Tarpley said from inside the mall.
The first year drew 70 people and has continued to grow ever since. Last year there were 250 people in attendance at the 9-11 ceremony.
This year, in addition to the normal routine, there will be a POW/MIA table set up. Special guest speaker will be two-star Major General Eddy Spurgin.
â€śWe remember these men and women one day a year, but their families remember them every day,â€ť Tarpley said. â€śThat is just one of the many reasons we need to keep this going.
â€śEvery soldier who has served in combat knows the fear of 'If I die, will I be forgotten' and this is a way to tell them 'no they wont be forgotten'â€” as long as I have anything to do with it.â€ť
Tarpley, a veteran himself, said he will continue to hold the ceremony to ensure the families and the veterans their sacrifice is not forgotten.
â€śAs a Vietnam vet, I wanted to make sure the young guys weren't treated like we were coming home. When those gold star families come up to you and say 'thanks,' we make sure we do it one more year,â€ť he said.