By Phillip Williams
Gilmer real estate developer and U.S. Army veteran Lloyd (Brandon) Dodd will be featured speaker for the city’s annual public Memorial Day ceremony Monday.
The event, conducted by local veterans’ organizations, is set for 9 a.m. on the Upshur County Courthouse’s south lawn.
Co-sponsors are Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6715 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter No. 204. American Legion R.E. (Peppy) Blount Post No. 320 will also participate.
Kenneth Hansen of the East Texas Veterans Resource Center in Longview will be master of ceremonies. Gold Star Mother Evelyn Beaty, escorted by VFW member Robert Perez, will place a wreath at the veteran monument on the lawn.
The Legion will raise the American flag before the invocation by VFW Commander Charles Watson. Monica Yarbrough, a high school student, will play the National Anthem before Cub Scout Pack 314 leads the pledge of allegiance.
VFW member Thomas Johnson will speak about the USS Maine, a U.S. Navy ship which sank after an explosion in Havana Harbor in 1898. The incident contributed to the outbreak of that year’s Spanish-American War after newspapers said Spain was responsible.
After DAV Commander Donald Iverson welcomes attendees, Legionnaire Oscar Martinez will introduce Dodd. Following his address, the wreath will be placed.
Yarbrough will sound “Taps” before the Legion lowers the flag and Watson leads the benediction.
Dodd, son of Lloyd and Pam Dodd, enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a 17-year-old Gilmer High School senior and later enlisted full-time in the army. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
The speaker, who has been involved in numerous civic activities, formerly owned Dodd’s Body Shop near Gilmer. Besides being a developer, he works part-time at Croley Funeral Home in Gilmer and Grubbs-Loyd Funeral Home in Diana.