Since the nation was founded, countless men and women have died defending American freedoms through service in the United State military.

On Monday, citizens from across the county are invited to salute those selfless sacrifices as Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240 hosts its annual Memorial Day program beginning at 9 a.m. at West End Memorial Cemetery's Veterans Field of Honor.

Dublin native Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Lucas, 79, will serve as guest speaker and Legion and Auxiliary members will lay a wreath at the memorial. The color guard, rifle salute and playing of Taps will add to the regalia.

Lucas was enlisted in the Air Force in on his 18th birthday - April 28, 1951 - and served as a security policeman in Korea before being transferred to Lowry Air Force Base, Colo.

Following security detail at American bases, Lucas entered Analyst Training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in 1958 before being stationed at Karamursel Air Station, Turkey.

Three years later, he served as an Analytical Branch instructor at Good Fellow Air Force Base and graduated United States Air Force Security Service Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in 1965.

Following service in Alaska and Japan, Lucas was assigned to San Vito Air Station, Italy as an analytical supervisor before ending his tour as first sergeant.

In 1974, Lucas was assigned to the 6920th Security Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan until he became Wing Senior Enlisted Advisor in 1976. The following year, he was reassigned a non-commissioned officer in charge of operations and mobility plans before becoming the senior enlisted advisor at the San Antonio Logistic Command at Kelly Air Force Base - a position he held until his retirement.

Among Lucas' numerous awards and achievements are Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Medal and Korea Service Medal.

The cemetery is located at the intersection of Washington and Lillian streets, across from Tarleton State University.

While attending the service, community members are encouraged to closely observe the memorial bricks lining the walkway that have been laid in remembrance and honor of local individuals and organizations.