Donaldsonville Veterans honor the fallen

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie

May 27 was a sunny, yet somber day in Donaldsonville, beginning with veterans placing flags at all marked military graves in the city, and commencing with a program of speakers across disciplines. The annual Memorial Day program in Louisiana Square was an event of remembrance and honor for fallen soldiers.

The tribute was presented by Montalbano-Sentilles Post 3766 Veterans of Foreign Wars and Babin-Haynes Post 98 American Legion. It included presentations by Mayor Leroy Sullivan; the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office; Ascension Veterans Memorial Park chairwoman, Tanya Whitney; Donaldsonville Fire Chief Chuck Montero; Clerk of Court, Bridget Hanna; City Councilmen Lauthaught Delaney Sr. and Raymond Aucoin; District 1 School Board member, Robyn Penn Delaney; Donaldsonville Chamber Executive Director, Juanita C. Pearley; Ascension Parish Government representative and westside coordinator, George Rodeillat; and Commander Leroy Plaissance, among other speakers.

"Our celebration should be for the lives that have been lost, the life that they have not been able to live and the lives that have not come about because they died - many of them so young, never having children. As always, I challenge you to take a moment of reflection and remember," Whitney said.

Some of the messages presented asked patrons to thank soldiers for their sacrifices, but it was westside coordinator, George Rodeillat, who pushed the message and meaning of Memorial Day home.

"Memorial Day - a long weekend, the beginning of summer, we'll all be barbecuing," Rodeillat said. "Unfortunately, that's not what it's all about - it's about the men and women who left their homes, families, country, to go somewhere where they did not want to be in the first place. We can never, never, never pay them back, and as someone said earlier, they gave all - they gave everything - that's what we need to remember on Memorial Day."

Tanya Whitney presented a $500 check to continue Donaldsonville's celebrations of fallen soldiers and veterans. A 21-gun salute and Taps were performed. Jambalaya was served.