Hundreds meet for annual Navy Night

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 28, 2004

The rain held off just long enough for a decades-old tradition to continue Thursday evening at the Ironton Center Street boat landing.

This year, the annual Navy Night service honored women who had served or are serving their country.

Lawrence Countians Edna Woods Kazee, who served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, and Selma Ginsburg and Virginia Payne Wilson, who were both Navy WAVES in the mid 1940s, were saluted by both the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade committee and by the guest speaker for the evening, Lt. Annette Kern, commander of port operations for the U.S. Coast Guard in Huntington, W.Va. Kern praised the three women as trailblazers who made it possible for other women to follow their dreams of a military career today.

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"Well done, ladies, and

thank you very much," Kern said.

Kazee said after the service that she had not really felt much like a pioneer in women's right at the time she had served her country. "I was just glad for the opportunity to serve," Kazee said.

While Wilson and Ginsburg said they had enjoyed their stay in the Navy, neither said they wished they could have made a career in the armed services, but Ginsburg said she admired Kern.

"It makes me feel proud of what she's accomplished," Ginsburg said. Asked what they enjoyed about their military service, Wilson replied "discipline," Kazee replied she enjoyed "the camaraderie with everyone" and Ginsburg replied

that she had "met all kinds of people."

During her keynote speech, Kern also encouraged Navy Night attendees to remember the men and women who are serving in the military today, and to do their part in the war on terrorism by staying alert to what goes on in their own communities.

"As citizens, don't forget that, though you're not in the military, you can have a job, too, keeping your country safe."

In his invocation, the Rev. Dave Schug remembered those who had given their lives for the cause of freedom and those who were serving overseas at this time.

"It's a wonderful country that you have given us," Schug prayed. "There are men and women on the other side of the world fighting for our freedom and we honor them tonight. We pray for them as they are in harm's way."

Master of ceremonies, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton read a proclamation from Ironton Mayor John Elam, proclaiming May 27 Navy Night in the City of Ironton.

Approximately 150 people attended the annual service on the riverfront.