Friends of Fort Negley hold Memorial Day ceremony

Military veterans and Director of Metro Parks Monique Odom, along with veteran in period uniform, perform the ceremonial laying of the memorial wreath.

High on a hill, overlooking the city, stands a historic civil war symbol of Union occupation in Nashville.Fort Negley was the largest inland stone fortification build during the Civil War.

On Saturday, May 26, Dr. Clay Bailey, president of Friends of Fort Negley Park, led a solemn ceremony for Veterans Day, in remembrance of not only the fallen at Negley, but also all civilians and veterans who died for our country.

“Today we gather to commemorate a national holiday at a city park that, for some represented tyranny, and for others, including those who built it, it represented the promise of equality and freedom,” said Bailey.

On hand were Negro soldier re-enactors dressed in period uniforms, the Sons of Union Veterans, representatives for Councilman and candidate for State House District 54 Scott Davis, and Councilmember At-large John cooper who led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The keynote address, ‘Honoring all Sacrifices, Veteran, Civilian and Contraband,’ was delivered by Dr. Thomas Flagel, professor at Columbia State community college.

According to Flagel, veterans seldom discuss their experiences in war, because they focus more on life, rather than death.

“In memorial events, in creating memory, we feel compelled to talk at veterans rather than listening to them. They don’t talk about valor and glory and they don’t focus that much on death. When talking to a veteran, they talk about life.”

Following the keynote address, military veterans and Director of Metro Parks, Monique Odom, performed the ceremonial laying of the memorial wreaths.

Dennis Bogs, President Abraham Lincoln impersonator, presented heartfelt remarks about the Fort and veterans.

The event marked the 7th Memorial Day ceremony at the Fort. Recently, Mayor Briley announced plans to seek funds to demolish the old Greer Stadium located next to Fort Negley to start the process of restoring that land to a park as originally intended.

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