Veterans and their families gathered at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 125 to honor those who are no longer with us on a day of remembrance and thankfulness.
The ceremony emphasized the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, which is to honor all those who served or are still serving, unlike Memorial Day.
“Memorial day is a day that honors the brave men and women of the air force, army, navy, marines, and coast guard, who have given the ultimate sacrifice: their life,” said Senior Vice Commander Norbert Neiderer.
The ceremony included presentations of wreaths to honor members of the VFW Post 125, Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, and gold star mothers, who have lost a child in combat.
Donald Buhr, an Air Force Vietnam Veteran, said he feels blessed to be able to attend the ceremony at all. “A lot of people have passed away due to some circumstances, and war is hell no matter how you cut it, but we did for our country what we had to do,” Buhr said.
Bob Joyce is veteran of World War II and Korea and said he honors those who have lost their lives by putting up flags and flowers at the cemetery where his father’s monument is. He said he hopes more people get back to honoring Memorial Day and remembering what the day off really means.
The ceremony’s guest speaker was Bishop Terry LaValley from Ogdensburg, who is a 6-year navy veteran.
“Memorial day is a time to say thank you,” Bishop LaValley said. “I’m always concerned that folks forget, I forget quickly and easily, and that’s unfortunate, and days like this help us to recapture the gift that the women and men have given us.”
In his speech, Bishop LaValley spoke about the importance of flying the flag at full mast, because it means there haven’t been recent victims of tragedy or terror that cause the flag to be flown at half mast.
“For me it’s sort of like a breath of fresh air for as long as we can keep that cloth hoisted to the top,” he said.
Each veteran stressed the importance of younger veterans, like those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, to join their local VFW’s so celebrations like this one can continue on.