Hundreds of people made the walk up Highland Avenue and then up the hill at Youngsville Cemetery Monday for the Memorial Day service.
The Youngsville High School Marching Band provided music in the parade up Highland, and opened the services with The Star Spangled Banner, and a duet of America the Beautiful.
Don Shinn, sergeant at arms for the American Legion Post 658 in Youngsville served as the master of ceremonies, introducing Gary Fry as the guest speaker. Shinn said of Fry, “He’s a gentleman who, for many of you, needs no introduction. Some of his accomplishments include nine years of commander of AmVets Post 50 of Sugar Grove, past state commander for AmVets, a past member of the Pa. Veterans Committee, past president of the Pa. Veterans Council, past national commander for AmVets.
Shinn continued, “He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and a 30-year member of the American Legion Post 758 in Sugar Grove. And last but not least, he is very familiar with the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, as he himself is a Vietnam veteran.”
Fry began with a Memorial Day proclamation from by Warren County Commissioners. He then said, “On this Memorial Day, I would like to share a remark made by the late President John F. Kennedy, himself a U.S. Navy veteran. I think its really appropriate today. ‘A nation not only reveals itself by the men and women it produces, but also by the men and women it remembers and honors.'”
Fry continued, “We Americans here in Warren County commit to a nation that holds true the memory and measured sacrifice our country’s heroic men and women have given to secure life, liberty and freedom for all of us.
“Memorial Day is one of the oldest holidays in the United States of America, (and) the important thing is it’s borne solely from American Heritage. As we gather here at this cemetery in Youngsville, we recall the sacrifice of all who have (taken) time from their young lives to help with the preservation of our society,” he said.
Fry said, “We owe an enormous amount of gratitude to these men and women for taking up arms against enemies of the United States of America. More than 1.3 million Americans have made the supreme sacrifice as a result of military conflicts throughout our history.”
He added, “Today, we gather with our families and friends, ushering in the summer of 2013 at parties and picnics but it’s ever so important we remember why we are here on this day. We do so to celebrate those fathers, brothers, sons, mothers, sisters and daughters who gave up all their tomorrows so that you and I could have our todays.”
“The brave people we honor today selflessly gave themselves to defend a way of life where all people can determine their own futures, (be) free of oppression, and devoid of fear.
“Over the last decade, our country has asked so much of our young soldiers, sailors and airmen to fight for our values in the Middle East. We must remain vigilant against those who wish to harm us, and join together as we have so many times before in history to truly build a better future for our posterity.
“As Americans, we must never forget those who served. We must continue to celebrate the lives of those who have truly made the U.S.A. the land of the free and the home of the brave. We are also here today to recognize 119 men and women from right here in this county that were veterans and passed away in the past year. They are local heroes, and I am proud to be here for them today,” he finished.
Post 658 Honor Guard Member Cal Redick read the list of this years veterans, beginning with World War II and continuing to the present.
The Honor Guard then fired a 21-gun salute, and Dick Bower played Taps.
Immediately following, Rob Lewis played a haunting echo of Taps from a hillside across the way.