Memorial Day Observed With Flags, Flowers, Speeches
People young and old, those who have been in attendance for years and those coming for the first time gathered at Union Cemetery and the courthouse in Mc- Connellsburg Monday morning to honor members of the armed forces who have given their lives in American wars.
At Union Cemetery drenched in late May sunshine, the fallen and veterans who have passed were remembered with flags and flowers. Memorial wreaths were presented by VFW Bishop Raker Post 655, American Legion Post 561 and their auxiliaries, and the Sons of the American Legion. Prayer was offered by Fulton Honor Guard chaplain Robert C. Snyder.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Mark A. Stroh gave the morning's keynote address, saying "In our hearts we know that we cannot fully discharge our solemn obligation to these men and women with mere words or gestures. They did not die for words or wreaths alone; they died so that in freedom our nation might endure."
"It is therefore fitting that on this Memorial Day we turn our thoughts to the renewal of our own dedication to the cause of freedom," Stroh said. That dedication, the Navy Commander said, is a "personal matter for us to renew our commitment, to renew our involvement, in the preservation of a heritage that our honored dead have purchased at such a dear price."
Many Americans today, Stroh said, do not fully understand the meaning of Memorial Day and that perhaps, is an indication of the success achieved by those who sacrificed everything.
"If some in our communities think Memorial Day is the day the swimming pools open, we all may thank the triumph of the brave few for easing the prospect of menace and securing the bounties of liberty,"
Cmdr. Stroh said we would all do well to heed the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said, "Any Nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure," "Well, we do remember," Stroh said.
"We remember that soldiers serve, and some die to preserve our bedrock freedoms, among them the freedom of association, of speech, of participation in governance, the freedom of choice in worship, and the freedom to pursue happiness.
"Our men and women in uniform understand that these freedoms do not endure without a firma and clear resolve, and sometimes a terrible and final sacrifice. Since our Nation's inception, when our freedoms have been threatened, American men and women have responded with that resolve and more than a million have made that sacrifice," Cmdr Stroh concluded.
A gun salute to "departed comrades by the Fulton Honor Guard and the playing of "Taps" and the national anthem by the McConnellsburg High School Band and the decoration of Veterans' graves by area Scouts concluded the Union Cemetery service.
The McConnellsburg observance at the courthouse followed the cemetery service, the decoration of veterans' graves in Mc- Connellsburg cemeteries and a Memorial Day parade through downtown that was organized by the Girl Scouts. It paid tribute to fallen soldiers with a presentation of memorial wreaths by the service organizations and their auxiliaries, a salute to departed comrades, the playing of "Taps" and the "Star Spangled Banner" and remarks by American Legion Comdr. F. G. "Bill" McGinnis.
At the conclusion of the Mc- Connellsburg ceremony, refreshments were served at the American Legion home.
The annual Memorial Day ceremonies are sponsored jointly by the American Legion and the VFW.