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Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill fought through tears as she gave her Memorial Day ad­dress in front of the Ok­tibbeha County Court­house on Mon­day and read “In Flan­ders Fields” by John McCrae.

Spruill, a Navy vet­eran and for­mer pi­lot, was the first fe­male pi­lot to land her plane on an air­craft car­rier.

She said Memorial Day typ­i­cally marks many things, such as the be­gin­ning of sum­mer or the end of the school year, but it is im­por­tant to not lose sight of the true mean­ing.

“It is so much more than that,” she said. “It is a day of re­mem­brance ... a day of thanks.”

The mayor was just one of sev­eral speak­ers at the Memorial Day ceremony hosted out­side of the Ok­tibbeha County Court­house on Mon­day by the Mil­i­tary Af­fairs Com­mit­tee at the Greater Starkville De­vel­op­ment Part­ner­ship.

Other speak­ers in­cluded Ok­tibbeha County District 1 Su­per­vi­sor John Mont­gomery, Mis­sis­sippi State Vice Pres­i­dent of Stu­dent Af­fairs Regina Hy­att, and keynote speaker, re­tired Army Col. Chuck Ware.

Ware cur­rently works as pres­i­dent of Ok­tibbeha County Train­ing School/Hen­der­son High School Schol­ar­ship Fund, Inc. and as vice pres­i­dent of Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity in Starkville.

Navy Cap­tain Robert A. Green, who serves as the co-chair for the Mil­i­tary Af­fairs Com­mit­tee at the GSDP, served as the master of cer­e­monies.

Hy­att, who spoke to the group on be­half of MSU Pres­i­dent Mark Keenum, re­flected on a re­cent trip to Pearl Har­bor, Hawaii.

“To see the Ari­zona memorial, the stat­ues and the names of the men who lost their lives that day,” she said. “I thought a great deal about what that meant for our coun­try on that morn­ing.”

Mont­gomery pointed to the fam­ily of Tay­lor McDavid sit­ting on the front row of the event.

McDavid grew up with Mont­gomery, but was killed in Iraq in March 2008.

“Sol­diers that paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice, the ul­ti­mate mea­sure and we are thank­ful,” Mont­gomery said. “They met the chal­lenges and looked for­ward to the chal­lenges at hand.”

Ware also gave per­sonal anec­dotes to high­light how war had im­pacted peo­ple just in his com­mu­nity on the west side of Starkville.

He said in his com­mu­nity, they have iden­ti­fied 50 vet­er­ans just in one small part of the city who served in con­flicts go­ing back to World War II.

That in­cludes Roo­sevelt Tay­lor, the old­est liv­ing vet­eran in the area. In Fe­bru­ary, the 93-year-old Tay­lor was made an hon­orary Tuskegee Air­man for his ser­vice to the nation.

Not all ser­vice mem­bers came home alive, though.

“Some of the ser­vice­men on this (fallen sol­diers memorial) were friends and high school class­mates of mine and some of yours,” Ware said.

He then men­tioned Char­lie Hunter, who grew up in the Need­more com­mu­nity and was a star foot­ball player.

“He was one of the best lineback­ers to grace the grid­iron and walk the halls of Hen­der­son High School,” Ware said. “He was killed in Viet­nam.”

To close out the ceremony, lo­cal vet­er­ans read off the names of the 92 ser­vice mem­bers from Ok­tibbeha County who had been killed in com­bat, go­ing back to World War I.

Wreaths were then put down in front of the fallen sol­dier mon­u­ment, be­fore Boy Scouts from Troop 14 raised the flag as “Taps” was played.

A fly­over by Carey and Sam Hardin con­cluded the event, which was spon­sored by the GSDP, The Mis­sis­sippi State Ba­gley Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing, OSERVS and Back­stage Mu­sic.

(Pho­tos Ryan Phillips, SDN) by (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)

(Top) Braden Wille­ford, David Bur­nett and Draco An­dol of Boy Scout Troop 14 pre­sented the col­ors at the Memorial Day Ceremony. (Right) City, county and other lo­cal lead­ers stand at at­ten­tion as the Amer­i­can flag is raised in front of the Ok­tibbeha...

Kelly Donoho, MSU ath­letic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, for Starkville Daily News) (Photo by

Mem­bers of the Mis­sis­sippi State base­ball team re­act as they watch the NCAA se­lec­tion show on Mon­day morn­ing. The Bull­dogs were an­nounced as the No. 2 seed for the Tal­la­has­see Re­gional at Florida State and will play No. 3 seed Ok­la­homa on Fri­day at 11...

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