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GALLERY | Honoring Sacrifice: Major Jeff Odegaard's Memorial Day Challenge

In a poignant Memorial Day speech at the Emma Kelly Theater, retired Major Jeff Odegaard honored fallen soldiers and challenged the audience to reflect on their own civic contributions. Speaking to a captivated crowd, Major Odegaard shared powerful stories of sacrifice and courage, reminding everyone of the true cost of freedom. He concluded by asking each attendee how they can be the kind of citizen worth dying for.

On Memorial Day, the Emma Kelly Theater hosted a solemn yet inspiring ceremony, where retired Major Jeff Odegaard delivered a poignant address that left the audience deeply moved. Major Odegaard's address, introduced by American Legion Post 90 Commander Gary Martin, was dedicated to honoring the ultimate sacrifices made by countless service members throughout American history.

Major Odegaard, a decorated veteran with a distinguished military career, shared stories of valor and sacrifice, reminding attendees of the true meaning of the day. His speech traversed through the harrowing experiences of soldiers from various wars, from World War II heroes like Ensign Floyd Glenn Hodges to recent casualties of the Global War on Terror.

A significant portion of Odegaard's speech focused on the emotional and often overlooked aspects of military service. He recounted the pain and honor associated with the "final roll call" and the "battlefield cross," ceremonies that symbolize a soldier's ultimate sacrifice. He emphasized that Memorial Day is not just for veterans but for those who gave their lives, highlighting the collective grief and gratitude owed to them.

Odegaard also touched on the often-ignored casualties of training accidents, exposure to toxic chemicals, and suicides among veterans, urging for greater recognition and support for these silent sufferers. He passionately advocated for initiatives like the American Legion's "Be the One" program, which encourages people to reach out and support veterans struggling with mental health issues.

In closing, Major Odegaard issued a powerful challenge to the audience: "How can you be the kind of citizen worth dying for?" He urged everyone to honor the fallen by becoming better citizens—praying for the country, engaging in civil discourse, voting, and volunteering in their communities.

As the ceremony concluded, the sense of reverence and commitment was palpable. Major Odegaard's heartfelt words served not only as a tribute to those who had given their lives but also as a call to action for all present to live in a way that honors their sacrifice.

Following the speech, attendees were invited to a gathering at the American Legion building for fellowship, reinforcing the community spirit that Major Odegaard so passionately advocated for. The day was a stark reminder of the price of freedom and the enduring duty of every citizen to cherish and uphold it.

CLICK HERE to watch a Live stream of the entire ceremony.

Click the photo above to walk through the day with a photo gallery.

Intonement of Fallen Veterans of Bulloch County

During the Memorial Day service the names of soldiers killed in action were intoned.

Below is a list of all soldiers from Bulloch County or who were attached to and deployed from units in Bulloch County.

WORLD WAR 1                                                  

  • Dexter Allen
  • William Baker
  • Brooks Beasley
  • Lawson Bell
  • Willie Brannen
  • George Guy Burgess
  • Ernest Cannon
  • Carswell Deal
  • Edwin DeLoach
  • George Falagan
  • Cephas Feelings
  • Herbert Folsom
  • Paul R. Groover
  • Neal H. Hagan
  • Jesse Lewis
  • Clarence Lyons
  • Blitch Parrish
  • Solomon Raymond
  • Thomas Raymond
  • Walter Sanders
  • John M. Sheffield
  • Louis O. Stanford
  • James Stewart
  • Claude B Terry
  • Homer Van Buren Warnock
  • James W Wiliams



  • Albert Allen*                                                                           
  • James V. Anderson                                                                 
  • John D. Arnett                                                                         
  • Alfred C. Barnes *                                                                   
  • Inman Beasley                                                                         
  • John T. Box                                                                               
  • Dan C Branson, Jr.                                                                    
  • William H. Bryant                                                                     
  •  John C. Bure, Jr.  *                                                                  
  • Barney L. Chester *                                                                  
  • James O. Cooper                                                                       
  • Leroy Cowart Jr. *                                                                     
  • John F. Darley, Jr.  *                                                       
  • Pierce Darwin DeLoach*                                                              
  • Kelley Bruce Dickerson*                                                               
  • Clyde Thomas Dixon *                                                                   
  • Erastus Don Ellis                                                                               
  • Olice R. Evans                                                                  
  • James A. Futch, Jr.                                                                          
  • Bill M Gerald *                                                                                 
  • Carl L. Gordy*                                                                                  
  • Thomas Hendley                                                                             
  • James M. Hendrix                                                                           
  • F. Glen Hodges*                                                                              
  • Herman Lavonne Hodges                                             
  • William G. Holloway                                                                       
  • Arthur J. Howell *                                                                            
  • Charles Hunnicutt                                                                           
  • James Alvin Lanier                                                                          
  • Jemison B. Lynn                                                                               
  • Archie Redell Martin*                                                                                   
  • Charles T. Martin*                                                                          
  • Leonard E. Mincey
  • Carrol Minick*
  • Cecil Morris
  • Richard Newton
  • George B. Newton
  • George W. Olgesby
  • Austin K Pennington
  • Jackie (Jake) Pennington
  • Ernest L. Poindexter, Jr.*
  • Berton H. Ramsey, Jr.
  • Troy R. Reddick
  • Rupert D. Riggs, Jr. *
  • Barney W. Shelnutt
  • J. I. Shurling
  • Erastus D. Sills
  • Rufus A. Small
  • Rufus B. Stephens
  • Jack L. Suddath*
  • Clifton Summerlin
  • James Walter Swint
  • Chares T. Thornton
  • Cecil Turner
  • Charles D. Wall
  • Albert A Ward*
  • William D. Ward
  • Roland D. Warnock
  • Floyd B. Waters
  • Ellis F. Williams
  • Jack B. White
  • Hardy Talmadge Womack
  • John Gilbert Woodward
  • Frank R. Zetterower, Jr.

* Denotes Killed in Pacific


  • Larry B. Akins SSGT Air Force…. 31 Jan, 1954 Died while missing
  • David Chance PVT. Army…. 25 Aug, 1950 Killed in Action
  • James A. Hunnicutt SGT Army…. 12 Dec, 1950 Died while captured
  • Charles H. Lord, Jr. PVT Army…..02 Nov, 1950 Died while captured
  • George D. Tillman PFC Army……15 April, 953 Killed in Action
  • Thomas Crosby  Army  Killed in Action


  • James R. Brannen
  • Hubert F. Brinson
  • Lenard Coleman
  • Jessie W. Conner
  • David L. DeLoach
  • Luther M. Jones
  • Michael T Rowe


  • SPC Matthew Gibbs
  • SPC Charles H. Warren
  • SSGT Dennis P. Merk
  • SPC Jerry L. Ganey
  • SGT Brock H. Chavers
  • SFC Isaac L. Johnson
  • Capt. Thomas Lee Moore
  • SSGT Chester McBride, III

NOTES: Some of these men were stationed at or deployed from the local guard base so we include them on our list