Memorial Day events pay tribute to veterans

Numerous events will honor veterans in the days leading up to Memorial Day and pay tribute to those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The Odessa American Legion will host a Memorial Day ceremony at the Ector County Cemetery and feature Dr. Ron Hankins, who is a retired military chaplain and the newly assigned pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Odessa.
Rev. Hankins completed a total of 23 years of military service, which included 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, six years in the U.S. Naval Chaplain Corps and four years as a U.S. National Guard chaplain.
“What service means to me is giving yourself for the sake of others whether that be your nation or your community,” Hankins said “These events are about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Hankins emphasized unity as a critical element for service and said a community thrives off of the accumulated selfless acts of service that individuals invest locally and on a national scale.
“No matter how great or small, doing whatever we can do to serve and make a difference,” he said, and “inspiring others to continue that tradition.”
Hankins said he hopes remembering veterans during the federal holiday will motivate people to come together and continue to carry on that spirit of service.
Additional Memorial Day events will take place over the weekend and include placing small flags beside veterans’ headstones on Saturday at the Ector County Cemetery and Sunset Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4372 and auxiliary will also host a flag-raising ceremony and free breakfast Saturday at the VFW facility at 208 E. VFW Lane.