STANDING FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM at Monday’s virtual Memorial Day ceremony, l-r, Sam Kines, Wayne McDonald, Tom Brown and Roy Jones. The somber remembrance took place inside the chamber of commerce and can still be seen on the chamber’s Facebook page.
A small group of Grady County veterans paid public tribute to those who have given their lives in service to the United States of America during a moving Memorial Day service Monday. Due to the coronavirus, the ceremony was “virtual” and broadcast live from the Cairo-Grady County Chamber of Commerce on the chamber’s Facebook page Monday at 10 a.m. It was sponsored by the local American Legion Posts, 122 and 544. Participants included Tom Brown, commander of Post 122; Wayne McDonald, chaplain of Post 122; Roy Jones, member of Post 122; and Sam Kines, brother of Ed Kines who was killed in action in Vietnam.
The veterans paid special tribute to Eddie Kines during Monday’s service. Kines served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was killed at the age of 19, just 21 days before he was to leave Vietnam, his family explains.
One of 10 children to Rosa and Carl Kines, Eddie Kines was eager to follow in the footsteps of his elder brothers who had served.
“Our oldest brother Dan graduated from Cairo High School in 1957 and the next day hitch hiked from Cairo to Tallahassee, Florida, to join the United States Marine Corps. The following year, our second oldest brother, Jerry, did the same thing. When those guys would come home on leave, we were so proud of them. They were in top notch shape, physically, had new clothes, new cars and money in their pockets,” stated prepared remarks composed by family members and read by Commander Brown during the ceremony. “When Ed was in the 10th grade, he couldn’t stand it any longer, he wanted to join the Marine Corps to serve our country and to better himself. He had to have our Mom’s signature to enter, but Mom would not do it because of the Vietnam War. When Ed turned 17, our oldest brother, Dan, talked our Mom into signing for Ed to go in the Marines.”
Kines was deployed to Southeast Asia on Sept .1, 1966. He was killed on Sept. 10, 1967.
Monday, Brown also read prepared words describing that day by fellow Marine, Sgt. John Benefield. Read aloud, the story was visibly moving for both Brown and Kines.
“It had gotten dark, and the fighting had not let up. The mortar men that were not on the guns were shuffling wounded to the LZ and bringing back ammo to the men on the perimeter or where it was needed the most. Ed was on a trip for more ammo when he was killed. Folks, Ed Kines was doing what he always did at that very moment, and that is putting others first and doing what needed doing,” Brown said as he read Benefield’s words. “I can honestly tell you, I’ve never served with any Marine that was more of a Marine than Edward W. Kines.”
Kines’ other siblings include Carleen, Sara, Tom, Bob, Rick and Tim.
Brown pointed out that since the American Revolution, one million Americans have died while serving in wars and conflicts.
He said, “They all died so we can continue to cherish the things that we love – freedom, country and family. That is why we are gathered here on Memorial Day, to honor the memory of our fallen warriors who have given everything for their country. We are also reminded on this day that in each generation, brave men and women will always step forward to take the oath of allegiance as members of America’s armed forces willing to fight, and if necessary, die for the sake of freedom.”
Chaplain McDonald, in his prayer, said, “Grant that we shall appreciate and treasure the freedom that is our gift and our heritage that we may never forget the great price at which it was purchased for us all.”
Brown, McDonald, Jones and Kines each read the names of those from Grady County killed in action and the ceremony concluded with a prayer and playing of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”