American Legion honors fallen heroes

Published 4:16 pm Monday, May 30, 2011

The Norman R. Matthews Post 57 of the American Legion honored service members who have lost their lives while serving their country in a Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Members of the American Legion, Boy Scout Troop 1 and the Daughters of the American Revolution participated in the ceremony held Monday.

Members of the Norman R. Matthews Post 57 of the American Legion place the flag at half-staff during a Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar Hill Cemetery May 30. The group also placed memorial wreaths to honor fallen service members of American wars.

The Rev. Michael D. Halley, who was guest speaker for the solemn occasion, said it is important to continue the tradition of Memorial Day to recognize and remember the people who give their lives to protect our country.

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He said he is encouraged to see people demonstrate their support of the men and women fighting in current conflicts, such as displaying “I Support the Troops” bumper stickers.

But Halley added he hopes to hear of more people entering the military to serve.

He cited his own experience as a commander in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, saying it wasn’t always easy but was extremely rewarding.

“It is a service you will never forget,” he said. “It’s about serving our country the best way we can.”

During the ceremony, couples presented wreaths to honor soldiers in the various American conflicts throughout our history.

Six wreaths represented the fallen of the American Revolution, the Spanish-American War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II and collectively the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Most of the wreaths were placed at the bases of the corresponding monuments at Cedar Hill, and the Revolutionary wreath was placed in the cemetery.

Then, while American Legion post commander Jim Thorsen read the lyrics to “Taps,” which is traditionally played to honor fallen heroes, the American flag was lowered to half-staff.

Faye Sobel, regent of the Constantia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, read the poem “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” which asks God to protect military members from the perils of the air, land and sea.

The ceremony closed with Boy Scout Troop 1 leading the attendees in the Pledge of Alliance.