Old Glory honored at Woodland Cemetery

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2003

Eight-year-old Dylan Carpenter has only lived to see the recent

war with Iraq.

Saturday afternoon, the young Kitts Hill resident witnessed a ceremony honoring his country's flag and those who fought to protect it.

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"I wanted him to realize how lucky we are to live where we live," Gail Carpenter, his mother, said. "Where we now have global TV, you realize how (others) live. You realize how lucky we are to have the freedom we have."

In honor of Flag Day, the Ironton AMVETS Post 5293 conducted a flag-raising ceremony at Woodland Cemetery's Patriot's Path Saturday. Besides an appearance in the Memorial Day parade, this was the first public ceremony conducted by the new organization.

"These guys will bring a fresh breath of air to Ironton," Dave Barker, a veterans service officer from Chillicothe, said.

"You see that flag? That red stands for shed blood," Barker continued. "One-half million died in the 20th Century alone. As long as we keep the flag in the front, that one-half million will not be forgotten."

One reason why this ceremony has importance is efforts to destroy the flag and the "One Nation Under God" battle that arose last year in a San Francisco federal court, Barker said.

"We're here to remember those who fought so we can have a free nation," said Carroll Stamper, a Pedro resident and post member who served in the military.

After raising the flag, Elizabeth Russell Melvin sung patriotic songs. Singing at the ceremony was difficult for her because she had not sang since her mother died a few years ago, she said.

"When I sing, it comes from my soul," she said. "Music is an expression of soul, and it touches me so I can touch others."

Commander David Malone, a Waterloo resident, said Melvin's singing was an emotional experience for him that brought tears to his eyes. Malone is a Vietnam veteran whose son, David Malone II, is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force.

"War is the same because you're leaving family and home," Betty Malone, David Malone's wife, said.

David Malone said the post's first ceremony went very well, and he hopes to organize more in the future. Betty Malone, one of the main organizers, also complimented the organizing work of Deering resident Rosemary York, who came to the ceremony representing her husband Walter, who was too ill to make it to the ceremony, Betty Malone said.

Currently, the organization is meeting at the VFW Post 8850 building on the last Wednesday of the month. It now has 17 members, and besides seeking new members, the organization is seeking its own building.

"This is the most patriotic area I've worked -- along the Ohio River," Barker said. "I've never seen patriotism anywhere that's stronger than here."

The Ironton Elks also had a Flag Day Ceremony Saturday. A story on that event will appear in Monday's edition.