They were heart-stirring ceremonies Monday morning as the members of the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial Committee and officials with Trinity Memorial Park presented their annual Memorial Day presentations, remembrances of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who gave everything they had to this great nation.
Master of ceremonies for the Vietnam Memorial Committee event was John Weeks, president and general manager of KBYG radio in Big Spring. Although Weeks has never served in the armed forces, the local man recounted a long list of family members who had answered the call, giving him an excellent view of the honor and ideas veterans hold so dear.
“Without being a veteran, I still understand veterans and what an honor it is for me to be here today, with you, honoring this great country and these proud people,” Weeks said.
Guest speaker for both ceremonies was Texas Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Eddy Spurgin, a native of Anson, Texas, and a serving officer of the Texas Army National Guard for more than 30 years.
“They died on hundreds of different battlefields, as well as nameless places on the oceans and in the skies,” Spurgin said. “From the American Revolution to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, from the fertile fields of North America to the blue deep of the South Pacific, from the rugged mountains of the Korean Peninsula to flack-filled skies over Germany … from the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam to the streets of Mogadishu. More than 1.3 million service men and women have gone into battle, preserving our precious freedom and liberating millions from oppression throughout the world.”
Spurgin's unit was deployed to Basra, Iraq, in late 2010 for a 10-month tour of duty which included a number of roles, including training and assisting Iraqi security forces — the country's Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, border guards and police units — as well as conducting counter-terrorism operations in southern Iraq.
During the division's time in Iraq, Spurgin lost 15 soldiers and had more than 80 wounded in operations against insurgent groups.
Spurgin — who is the major general in command of the 36th “Arrowhead” Division headquartered in Austin — said it is important to remember the men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect the American way of life.