About 75 people attended a Memorial Day service Sunday at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery. Among those present a the Alabama site to honor those who died in military service was autograph-seeker John Cole.
Cole, 43, of Fort Mitchell has a 2013 Ram 1500 truck. On the back of the truck is a painted picture of the Fort Mitchell Cemetery and the words, "True heroes are the ones who never made it back."
On the pickup truck's tonneau cover, Cole has the names of veterans and current military he has asked to sign it.
Cole said it is a tribute to all military, especially his father, Jewell Cole, who served two tours in Korea and one in Vietnam while in the Army.
Never miss a local story.
"He was one of the lucky ones who made it back but he knew those who didn't. He retired from the Army after 20 years."
His father died in 2003.
Cole added that he was kept from serving as his father did because of a medical condition.
"I have been planning this for about two years," he said of the decorated truck. "I am going to get an American flag painted on the side. People need to thank those in the military for the freedoms we have."
Among those signing the truck Sunday was former Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff. A former Army colonel, Poydasheff was the guest speaker for the annual event.
Poydasheff told those gathered on a sunny, hot day that Americans live without a yoke around their necks; that they have the freedom to worship the way they want, to vote without someone looking over their shoulders, and not be forced to incriminate themselves because of the sacrifice of the men and women in the military.
"They did not die in vain," said Poydasheff.
The service was sponsored by the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery and the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery Support Committee.
Music was provided by the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band from Fort Benning, some members of which were asked to sign Cole's truck.