Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Third Army/ARCENT commanding general, gave the keynote address at the Sumter Memorial Day Ceremony held at Maj. Gen. George L. Mabry Jr. Memorial Park Monday.

The ceremony, hosted by the Sumter Veterans Association, Inc., in conjunction with Sumter County and the City of Sumter to recognize veterans on Memorial Day, was the first since Third Army/ARCENT moved to Shaw Air Force Base last year.

"A grateful nation, one that cherishes freedom, must always remember those that served and sacrificed on her behalf," said Brooks. "Let us remember them best by taking inspiration from them in all that we do, and let us never forget them."

Paul Jennings, a WWII veteran and the trumpet player for the ceremony, said he was thankful to have Brooks present and said it shows the importance to support and recognize veterans.

"I think it's necessary to continue to do this for the guys that gave their lives and so many have been wounded and never will be the same," said Jennings. "So I think that is important to remember them. We need to be reminded of that, probably more often than what we are."

Brooks told the crowd he was honored to speak to them as a veteran on this day of reflection.

"On a day like this, and maybe for many veterans of war on any given day, our minds turn to those who have gone before us. Those who have served and have since moved on through their final roll call to their final resting place," said Brooks. "We can recall images of waving flags, proud warriors and cheering crowds and ringing bells of victory, but we also recall folded flags, fallen comrades, the moisten eyes of Family and friends."

The ceremony ended with a lying of a wreath on the war memorial, and the playing of taps by Jennings.

The Third Army/ARCENT team stands ready to conduct operations anytime and anywhere as directed to deter or defeat adversaries while sustaining forces in theater in order to support combat and shaping operations. It continues to shape the operational environment to enable partner nations. To learn more about the Third Army, visit www.arcent.army.mil or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PattonsOwn .

Page last updated Tue May 29th, 2012 at 14:35