The American Legion Post 236 and the VFW Post 5511 held Memorial Day services at Orange Hill Cemetery in Williston on Sunday afternoon.
American Legion Post Commander Dwight Fields and VFW Post Commander Scott Makin hosted the ceremony honoring World War II veterans. Almost 150 people attended and all the World War II veterans were presented with a Certificate of Honor while their war accomplishments were announced. Rev Lonzell Blanton of the Assembly of Faith Church of Bronson gave the invocation and benediction. Major Mike Johnson of the Levy County Sheriff's Office, a Vietnam veteran, made a heartfelt speech on the ultimate sacrifices World War II veterans made for their country. Johnson said it was a privilege to be able to speak about the World War II soldiers, and wanted to be sure the young people in the audience remembered the war. He spoke in great detail about the history of World War II, pointing out that over 60 million people died during the war.
Veteran Richard Williams of Williston spoke of his World War II experiences in Tunisia, Belgium and France. He will be giving this speech in Washington, D.C. this summer when he goes to the White House to receive the Croix de Guerre from the President of France. Williams also thanked the family of injured solder Catlin Mixson, who were in attendance and asked the audience to applaud them.
The ceremony also had The McCain Family playing the bagpipes, Natalie Nicole Green signing the National Anthem and "God Bless the U.S.A.,"
and Tony Clubb and Mario Martinez of the First Baptist Church of Williston performing "Amazing Grace." The Renegade Color Guard of Levy County performed the 21-gun salute, and Travis Henry closed out the service with a soulful rendition of Taps. The theme of the service was of the gratitude and appreciation that all Americans have for the great veterans of World War II. As one veteran in the audience was heard to say, "All gave some, but some gave all, and we thank you for it."