Residents turn out for Memorial Day observanceA cold rain may have fallen on Memorial Day activities but it didn’t seem to limit the turnout or the spirits of those involved in the patriotic ceremonies of the day.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
A cold rain may have fallen on Memorial Day activities but it didn’t seem to limit the turnout or the spirits of those involved in the patriotic ceremonies of the day.
“The rain may have slowed some from going to the cemeteries,” said Mike Schwartz, a member of the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “But it was still a good crowd.”
Veterans and the public participated in a service at the Knights of Columbus followed by wreath ceremonies at each of the cemeteries in Jamestown. That was followed by a wreath ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall at Fort Seward.
In one departure from tradition the naval wreath, honoring sailors killed at sea, was not lowered into the James River due to high water. Instead the ceremony was held at the Knights of Columbus hall with Judy and Rod Olin retiring the wreath.
Still, the day was about tradition.
“I’m from a family with a lot of military so Memorial Day is a family event,” Schwartz said. “A chance to show support for the troops in the military and those that never made it home.”
Schwartz, at age 34, was one of the younger veterans participating in events. Many were veterans of World War II.
“The day reminds me of all the people I met in the service and got to be good friends with,” said Reese Hawkins, World War II veteran who served on the destroyer USS Roe in the Pacific. “And I think about the people that stayed home. About that time women began working in factories. Someone had to build the ships and guns.”
Other World War II veterans recalled their time in the service.
“In the Army in World War II there was no such thing as a holiday,” said Ernest Hubacker, Army veteran who served in the Pacific Theatre. “The memorial service I remember most was March 1945, along the Burma Road. There were 55 graves there after we chased the Japanese away.”
For the veterans and others gathered it was a time to remember, something that Tom Sagassar spoke of during his invocation.
“One of the traits of humanity God gave humans is the ability to remember. But we can also forget to remember the 40 million that have served and the over 1 million that have died for this country,” he said. “It is too easy to forget. That is why we gather today.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org