Memorial Day Observance Honors Fallen Heroes
“This is what Memorial Day symbolizes – a time Americans take a clear look at both our past and our future. One day each year, when we acknowledge the debt we owe to those men and women who, because they so cherished peace, chose to live as warriors,” said Col. John Cross speaking at Memorial Day services at Union Cemetery Monday morning.
Col. Cross commanded a Special Troops Battalion in Taji area north of Baghdad and is currently attending the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. He was the keynote speaker for Memorial Day services under a sunny sky that drew a large crowd.
Cross when on to say, “Could anything be more contradictory than the lives of our soldiers? They love America, so they spend long years in foreign lands far from her shores. They revere freedom, so they sacrifice their own that we may be free. They defend our right to live as individuals, yet yield their individuality. Perhaps most of all, they value life, and so ready themselves to die in the service of our country.”
“Gen. George S. Patton said, “That it is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”
“Celebrate the courage that beats in the hearts of these patriots, the steel in the spine of every service member and in the selfless actions of these brave men and women who thought themselves ordinary but rose to meet seemingly impossible expectations to keep hope and freedom alive not just in America, but throughout the world.
Cross concluded by saying, “So today as each of you go home, think of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are sacrificing today around the world for a better future for all Americans. And for a moment, pause and remember those who died to make possible your tomorrows. And from the memory of these honored dead, let us never forget the sacrifices of these fallen and of their families, and let us commit ourselves to renew the values and ideals that have made this nation what it is today, the greatest nation in the world.”
At Union Cemetery and at church cemeteries in the area veterans who have passed were remembered with flags and flowers. Memorial wreaths were presented by Robert Huffman Sr., commander, VFW Post 655; George Black, commander, American Legion Post 561; Joyce Mellott, Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post 655; Carol Singel, Ladies Auxiliary American Legion Post 561; and Monte Rasp, commander, Sons of the American Legion Post 561.
A gun salute to “departed comrades” by the Fulton Honor Guard and the playing of “Taps” and the national anthem by the Mc- Connellsburg 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 Ed Stenger, quartermaster VFW Post 655, with the invocation by Robert Snyder, Fulton Honor Guard chaplain.
At the conclusion of the Mc- Connellsburg ceremony, refreshments were served at the VFW Post 655.
The annual Memorial Day ceremonies are sponsored jointly by the American Legion and the VFW.