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Memorial Day celebration honors military service

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    A fire truck outside of Hart’s Mortuary with a giant American flag for all to enjoy on Memorial Day. ALAINA CLARKE/Staff
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    Jeramie Frasure, a local wounded warrior, gives his heartfelt testimony to the crowd at Hart’s. ALAINA CLARKE/Staff
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    Tim Beasley, a General Patton impersonator,presents a speech about Patton’s time in service. ALAINA CLARKE/Staff

Hart’s Mortuary in Gray held a service May 31 to honor veterans during Memorial Day and to help teach a little bit about the importance of the day with General S. Patton.

Cecil Ethridge, master of ceremonies , said he was excited to see General Patton and hear the testimony of Jeramie Frasure, a local wounded warrior.

“We had a Memorial Day service here at Hart’s, and we were trying to get the word out so others could come,” he said. “We wanted people to come learn about Memorial Day, and reflect on the real meaning of it.”

He said they found a General S. Patton impersonator who was in the U.S. Army in WWI and WWII. He said having the impersonator, whose real name is Tim Beasley, helped to add more history and understanding.

“We have a day where we honor our veterans in November, but Memorial Day is for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by being in the service. They gave up their lives. It’s a time to reflect on that and really understand what our freedom is all about,” Ethridge said.

Jeramie Frasure, a local wounded warrior, gave his testimony on what it was like for him to be in the Marine Corps. He said it wasn’t easy for him to say what he said.

“I joined at 17 years old. I got my mom’s permission, so at 17 years old I joined the Marine Corps,” he said. “Two days after high school, I shipped off to Parris Island. I then was shipped out to Fallujah.”

He said he liked to talk back, so he was assigned to an outpost in the middle of the city of Fallujah, Iraq. He said he was told it was one the deadliest places in the world. He said it was fun sometimes, but there were IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks.

The veteran said he was hit with an IED one day. He said he would just randomly pass out at times, but he thought he was just exhausted. Frasure said it was hard for him and he hated the Marine Corps for a while.

“I didn’t realize I was having seizures. Three days before our next deployment, the doctor comes up and tells me the EKG showed I was having seizures. I was put on RBE, and that was harder than being in Fallujah,” he said.

Frasure ended up losing three of his friends. He was medically retired soon after, but the guilt of not going back with his friends was getting to him. He said he tried committing suicide a few times, because he wasn’t sure how he could go on.

“I thought I was a coward for not going back,” Frasure said. “I didn’t understand why God would let me live and take my friends. Then I felt even worse, because I tried to take my life when I have a wife and five beautiful kids who depend on me.”

He said a doctor suggested he get a service dog. He realized how expensive they were and decided not to get one. He said his neighbor moved and left their dog. He tried many times to give the dog away, but no one wanted him because of his behavior.

“I found out I was pretty good at training dogs, and I found an organization willing to help me learn how to train dogs. Me and my wife went through all the credentials in order to train dogs. I trained one of my own. I can honestly say that was the tipping point,” he said.

Frasure said he didn’t realize how strong the Marine Corps was making him, and he wants to thank the Marine Corps for that. He said he now trains service dogs for veterans and does so at no charge. He said he works with Working Dogs For Vets, with the local pound, the local shelter, and Rock On Rescue.

Ethridge said having General Patton at the service was great. He said Patton lived a short life but contributed so much. He said students learn about him in history. He said having Frasure speak to the crowd was also amazing, because hearing what he went through and how he was affected was powerful.

“Today was my first day meeting Jeramie, but wow,” Ethridge said. “We really never know who is among us and what they’ve done. It was something else to hear what he went through.”