Perry County honors the fallen on Memorial Day


“Memorial Day is more than just a day off work.”
That was the sentiment across the Memorial Day ceremony that was held on the Perry County Courthouse steps on Monday.
“America has fought for its freedom since 1776,” Perryville Mayor Larry Riney said. “Today, we of Perryville and Perry County recognize all the soldiers from all services of the United States military. Service members have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can stand here today, and can continue to say, one nation, under God with liberty and justice for all.”
Tom Nations was the keynote speaker of the event. He is the president of the Perry County Military History Museum located on the second floor of the Higher Education building. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and was commissioned an officer in the US Army. Nations participated in Desert Storm/Gulf War before retiring from active duty as an 04/Major. Nations also serves as a board member of the Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame. Each year the board selects no more than six Missouri veterans who returned home to serve their communities in extraordinary ways. In the last three years, three Perry County veterans have been selected for the Missouri Veterans Hall of Fame.
“It’s hard to come up with something original that so many great people haven’t already talked about.” Nations said.
Nations talked about Memorial Day today and in the future for generations to come.

“Today, all of us honor the veterans who died on our behalf,” Nations said. “It’s important that we show up to events like these to honor those who made the sacrifice. I used to be in the band and did not see the significance of Memorial Day then, but I showed up in my uniform and carried a big bass drum and marched in two parades on Memorial Day in high school.”
Nations said he didn’t see the need for Memorial Day back then, but he does now as an adult.
“What has changed is my perspective on what the military is asked to do,” Nations said. My job is to make sure that no one forgets how important Memorial Day is to us. It’s not a day for discount furniture sales, but a day designed to remember soldiers who died and to share those emotions.”
Nations said that days such as Memorial Day should also be important in the future when the generation is gone and new ones take over.
“Each generation is farther and farther removed from the things we learned the hard way through wars and conflicts,” Nations said. “Veteran organizations are seeing declining numbers and many of them will tell you that younger people are less likely to participate in such things. Memorial Day was made a holiday through proclamation and can be removed or replaced with something else. What if enough people don’t see the need to remember those who died in wars to keep this nation free? Time has a way of changing our priorities, but shouldn’t change the way we think about our military and those who serve our country.”