Memorial Day Message: Tell Your Children, Tell Your Grandchildren About the Lives of Heroes.
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The American Legion Post # 66 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars # 2145 hosted this year’s Memorial Day program at the Clarion Cemetery to remember and honor those who have served and sacrificed for freedom.
(Pictured above: Guest speaker Rex Munsee.)
The traditional laying of the memorial wreath was completed by Bobbie Lawrence, VFW Auxiliary President, Post # 2145, and Carole Hall, American Legion Auxiliary Second Vice Post # 66.
Guest speaker Rex Munsee, former Clarion County Sheriff and former state police officer, asked those attending the Memorial Day service at the Clarion Cemetery to tell the story of the area residents who passed away serving their country.
After offering stories of some who gave it all, Munsee had a simple direct message for the crowd.
“I can’t tell you the strategy of the generals and the action needed to win these wars,” said Munsee. “I can’t do that. I only know the results of these battles just as you do. I know that it always comes down to the people who do the actual fighting.
The missing 182.
“When the survivors come home, they tell us how it really was. And they tell us about the ones who didn’t return. The brave ones who sacrificed their own lives for freedom. The fallen heroes. Faceless men did not fight these wars. In the 20th century, 182 men from Clarion County died in these wars, and every one of them was a son, father, or brother to someone.
“These 182 men gave all they had for us, for their country, their families, and their loved ones. The war took them away forever. They died at young ages. We’ll never know what they might have done once they returned home.
“Some would be standing in this crowd now. There would be larger families, more sons, and daughters. We all would have gained if they would have returned.
“If you know these heroes, I ask of you a favor; tell us their stories. We know of their death, but what are their lives? Some of you lived, and you loved them. You knew the color of their eyes and the sound of their voices. You knew what they sound like when they laughed and when they had anger; you knew what they liked and they disliked.
“Tell us and talk to us about the family members you knew and will never get to know. Tell us what about them made you love them, and what makes you still love them. To this day, the wars that were fought stole a living from their families. But, those same wars stole from this generation and other generations—the chance for them to know their cousins, uncles, and great uncles.
Tell your children, tell your grandchildren.
“Show them the old pictures. Display the awards and ribbons and medals. Tell today’s young about these soldiers who never lived to be old. Oddly enough, these men are closer in age to their own children and grandchildren than they are to your age now. These heroes died young. Let their memories be eternal. Let these brave young soldiers be known to the young who stand beside you now for you or the bridge to the past.
“Allow the memories of these valiant men to be shared with the younger this generation and instruct this generation about the wars that touch this country and touch their lives. Irrevocably help to transfer the nobility and the honor of these deceased. This is Memorial Day. We’re gathered here to honor all the fallen heroes. Let’s keep the memory of Memorial Day to those of you who knew these men. Don’t keep these memories to yourselves.”
Olivia Siegel. Abigail Frederick, Leah Christine Exley, and Adia Marie Needham
American Legion Auxiliary Scholarship Awards were presented by Mary Orsino.
- Holly Ann Murray was unable to attend on Monday due to a prior commitment. She will attend West Virginia University while pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. Holly is the daughter of Tim and Susan Murray.
- Leah Christine Exley graduated from Keystone High School and will attend Slippery Rock University to pursue a career in early childhood special education. Leah is the daughter of Bryan and Kim Exley.
- Abigail Rae Frederick graduated from Clarion Area High School. She will be attending Penn State Behrend as she pursues a degree in Environmental Science. She is the daughter of Darren and Teresa Frederick.
- Adia Marie Needham graduated from Clarion Area High School and will attend Penn State University Park while pursuing a Bio Chem and Molecular Biology degree. She is the daughter of Craig Needham and Ronni Lencer.
- Olivia Jean Siegel graduated from North Clarion High School. She will attend PennWest University Clarion while pursuing her Early Childhood and Elementary Education degree. She is the daughter of Nathan and Jennifer Siegel.
- The 8th Grade Girl’s Americanism Award was presented to Carolyn Stevenson of Clarion Area by Carol Hall, ALA Post #066.
Laying of the Memorial Wreath
Bobbie Lawrence, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary President, Post #2145, Clarion PA, and Carol Hall, American Legion Auxiliary 2nd Vice, Post #066, Clarion, Pa.
Carol Hall, VFW Post Commander Jodi Hartle, and Bobbie Lawrence.
Additional Program Items
- Introductions: Kurt Jaegar, Commander of American Legion Post #066 in Clarion, PA
Kurt Jaegar, Commander of American Legion Post #066
- Invocation and Benediction: Hope Rising Church
- Pledge of Allegiance: Boy Scouts of America Troop 51
- National Anthem: Clarion Area High School Band under the direction of Sara Dodson
- Rifle Salute: American Legion Honor Guard Post #066
- Veteran Support: American Legion Riders Post #066
- Taps by the Clarion Area High School Band under the direction of Sara Dodson
- Naval Services were held at the Wayne R. Weaver I Memorial Bridge (AKA Toby Bridge).
- Luncheon was served at the VFW, 603 Liberty Street, Clarion, following the services.
Clarion Legion Riders
Clarion Cemetery Association
The Clarion Cemetery Association thanked Sons of the American Legion for purchasing the flowers in front of the Veterans Memorial, the Boy Scout Memorial, and the Captain Loomis Monument.
“It’s our job to keep the cemetery looking really good,” said Bill Hearst, Vice President of the Clarion Cemetery Association. “We sell graves, clean the headstones, and have a great group that takes care of the cemetery. We appreciate any help from anyone in the community and anyone wanting to donate. They can find us on Facebook.”
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