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Madison community remembers the fallen

MADISON, Ala. -- Despite the rainy weather, Memorial Day ceremonies continued in the Tennessee Valley. American Legion Post 229 hosted a ceremony at the City of Madison Wall of Heroes.

"It tells me everybody is patriotic. To come out in this weather, not knowing if we were gonna have thunderstorms in the area," said Larry Vannoy with American Legion Post 229. "We had so many people show up. It's very heartwarming."

Vannoy served in the Air Force, nine years active duty, and another 20 in the reserves. His father served in the military, his father-in-law served, and his son serves in the military. He said we must honor and remember all of their stories.

"Fewer and fewer serve in the military," said Vannoy. "So it is very important that we keep all of those memories, and remember those that have served in the past."

He said that those that can serve should consider offering service to their community and their country.

"We've had many, many veterans come up and share their stories with us, and children that would share the stories of their parents that served," said Vannoy. "And that's always heartwarming, they're recognizing their loved ones and the service they made to the community."

Madison Mayor Paul Finely thanked the veterans and their families. The ceremony also remembered Lieutenant David Albandoz, a local Madison airman who was killed in a military plane crash earlier this month.

"I hope that the young people that were here today recognize the sacrifices that service members have made, both those living and who have died," said Chris Brows with American Legion Post 22.

Brown served in the army for almost 29 years. He says hopes the ceremony inspires others, he himself was inspired by his father.

"I'm happy to be here," said his father, Robert Brown. "I'm so proud of my son up there, and so proud of what he has done in his military career. He started out in the unit I was in."

Robert Brown severed almost 38 years in the military he retired as a Master Sergeant in 2002, and his son Chris as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2016.

"I'm so proud of him, you know the old heart just pumps out for him," said Robert Brown.

Andy Caudle served in the during the Vietnam War. He says Memorial Day makes him think of his own father.

"The older I get the more I think about it," said Caudle who is with Post 229. "Because my father served in World War II, I have two uncles that served in World War II. They're gone. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't live like we do."

He said for him, the military wasn't a choice.

"I got a draft notice, and I needed to do something," Caudle said. "I think about all the growing up I did. Because that was the first time I was really away from home."