Past Post Events

It was a glorious Memorial Day for those who gathered at the foot of the courthouse steps in Sylva, North Carolina, at noon on May 25, 2015.  Those in attendance came to honor and pay their respect to all veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice in battle.  Post Commander Roy Brunette opened the program by having all veterans in attendance stand and render the hand salute to our nation’s flag, as it was raised from half-staff to full-staff, in honor of all fallen United States Armed Forces service members.  During the course of the presentations, those in attendance showed great reserve as they patiently listened to each speaker present their forum.

Being the principle speaker and a former US Army and Reserve Drill Sergeant/First Sergeant, I was humbled by the solemn attitude of each person in attendance.  As I spoke of the “true sacrifice” that our comrades made for this nation, I was reminded that their sacrifice was a multi-faceted one.  It is multi-faceted in the respect that each service member who died in combat left someone behind, possible a: wife, children, mother, father, sister, brother, or other family members.  It was a stark reminder to me that veterans who die in battle only die once, however, their family members die each day as they continue to remember their loved one.  I can honestly say that this Memorial Day 2015  has been a very humbling experience for me personally.


David P. Zachary,

Posted: 27 May 2015

American Legion Post 104 Provides Memorial Day Ceremony

Beginning at noon on Monday, May 25, American Legion Post 104 provided a Memorial Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Fountain, at the foot of the stairs leading down from the Old Jackson County Court House.

Post Commander Roy Brunette (Master of Ceremonies) began the program with the presentation of the colors by the post honor guard and the singing of the National Anthem, as all in attendance joined their voices in honoring this nation.  Immediately following, Chaplain Burrus Jones offered a prayer.  Legion member David Zachary was the keynote speaker.

A Memorial Wreath honoring all US veterans will be presented to World War II Army veteran Ben Dillard of Sylva, who survived the Battle of the Bulge and escaped from a German POW camp to rejoin the Allied Forces.  Dillard is the recipient of the Purple Heart and other combat decorations.  All Jackson County veterans deceased since Memorial Day 2014 will be listed in the program and will be honored in a solemn Post Everlasting ritual that will conclude the ceremony as Taps is played.

photo by: Steve Gray – The Sylva Herald

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed

For God, Family, and Country

Posted: 27 May 2015

The Memorial Day presentation by Post 104 was well received with approximately ninety to one hundred veterans, families, and community members in attendance.  The Legion Honor Guard posted the colors and Commander Roy Brunette started the program by introducing speakers from city, Sylva Mayor: Maurice Moody, and county government, County Commissioner Chairman: Brian McMahan as they offered their respect and words of encouragement to the veterans and other attendees.  Led by Roy Brunette and Burrus Jones, everyone sang patriotic songs during portions of the program and the amazing part was “no one had any words, everyone sang from memory.”

In his keynote speech, legion member and chaplain intern, David Zachary spoke of the true sacrifice that was paid by so many across our nation.  Following his speech, WWI veteran Ben Dillard was honored with a wreath and following, the Post Everlasting Ceremony was given by Roy Brunette, Ed Harwood, and Burrus Jones, which gave honor to all of the fallen Jackson County veterans who died during June 2014 to May 25, 2015.  Chaplain Jones offered a prayer of remembrance and Boyd Sossamon played “taps” on his trumpet as all veterans rendered the “hand salute” while the Legion Honor Guard retired the colors.

The following is an excerpt of the keynote speech:


     Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to offer greetings and blessings to each and every person here today, from the Sylva American Legion, Post 104, as we take time out this afternoon to remember all of those military personnel across America, and specifically here in Jackson County, for their ultimate sacrifice of service to our great nation.

     We have gathered here at the footsteps of this historic courthouse for a specific purpose and that purpose is not focused on entertainment, food, music, or social fellowship, for those are just by products of this Memorial Day.  Our purpose is to honor our fallen military comrades and their families, for the ultimate sacrifice paid upon the battlefield of life.  I find that some people view Memorial Day as just another paid day off of work, or they view it as the first holiday that symbolically starts the summer vacation season – even though summer does not officially arrive until June 1, 2015.

     However, to our veterans and their families this day represents a day of sacrifice and honor, a day of mourning and remembrance.  Always remember those who so valiantly served and died for this great nation.  They sacrificed their life in the service of their country, and to ensure that their comrades could returned home to reunite with their families.  Jesus said in the gospel of John – Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13, NKJV), and again, we honor those who expressed such sacrificial love.

This afternoon, I would like to share with you my ideas of:
What constitutes a true sacrifice that one would die for another?  A true sacrifice

    STEMS FROM AN UNSELFISH HEART - Because You Place Others First and Desire To Give Back



What constitutes a true sacrifice that one would die for another?  A true sacrifice

    COMES FROM THE SOUL  -  The Very  Core of Sacrificial Love

VETERANS are a “Band of Brothers

VETERANS do not question their love of country when –

VETERANS do not question their superiors when –

VETERANS do not question life itself when –

What constitutes a true sacrifice that one would die for another?  A true sacrifice

    GENERATES STRENGTH AND UNITY - Veterans Go the Extra Mile

VETERANS: venture into the very  depths of hell on earth, during times of mortal combat –

VETERANS: who survive the heat of battle are united and made stronger individuals because of their ordeals –

In closing, as an Army veteran of the Vietnam Era, it is difficult to comprehend why some individuals continually run our nation down.  God has given America more freedom and democracy than any other nation in the world… and we should never forget those who died to preserve such freedoms.  Whether you served in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, or Merchant Marines (WW II) is not relevant.  The fact that you served our nation is what is important… and therefore, from this old soldier’s heart, I personally thank you for your service to America.  God bless America and may she always be a great nation and a beacon of light to the rest of the world . . . that seeks the freedoms we enjoy.

David P. Zachary, Chaplain Intern
USA & USAR Veteran

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Memorial Day - 25 May  2015

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