Showing Respect

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, May 24, 2009

Just before the official holiday and a famous parade, a couple hundred area residents gathered Sunday afternoon for a somber pause in the festivities to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and why we celebrate it.

Organized by the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee, the service is conducted in the soldier’s section of the cemetery. The annual Woodland Cemetery Service was meant to “pay homage to the fallen warriors,” master of ceremonies Mark McCown said in his opening remarks.

In his invocation, the Rev. Chad Pemberton asked God to, “Help us to remember, this solemn day, exactly what we’re here for.”

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Keynote speaker Greg Vela, past department commander and past national council member for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, listed the thousands and, in the case of World War I and II, the millions who marched off to war during our nation’s history and those who never came home. He called all of those who served a hero, having sacrificed so much of themselves because “they heeded our country’s call.”

“Whenever you served and wherever you served you almost certainly left your family, your job and your home behind,” Vela said.

Area veterans groups were recognized and wreaths were laid in honor of the area’s fallen soldiers.