Freedom recognized at Cedar Hill

Published 7:15 pm Monday, May 28, 2012

Frances and Kermit Kelley place a wreath at the World War II monument near the entrance to Cedar Hill Cemetery during the Memorial Day ceremony there on Monday.

Local veterans and active-duty military joined ordinary citizens to honor the sacrifice of more than a million service members who gave their lives for freedom.

About 100 people attended the Memorial Day observance at Cedar Hill Cemetery on Monday morning hosted by the Norman R. Matthews American Legion Post 57. The ceremony included the placing of wreaths at each of the war memorials in the cemetery.

Bill Lynch holds the American flag during the Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar Hill Cemetery, sponsored by the Norman R. Matthews American Legion Post 57.

The Rev. Allen Lancaster, pastor of Liberty Spring Christian Church, was the featured speaker. He spent 44 years in the U.S. Navy — 23 as an enlisted sailor and 21 as a commissioned officer, a chaplain. He also now serves as chaplain to Suffolk Fire and Rescue.

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Freedom, he said, is the most treasured value of Americans and the reason that so many have died to protect it.

“No matter how you look at it, each side had their view of freedom,” he said of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln “wanted so much to pull the nation back together,” he added.

Even in the 21st century, freedom is a virtue the nation wishes to spread, Lancaster said.

“We’ll go out and help somebody else be free,” he said. “It’s ingrained in us.”

Lancaster called out the numbers of dead from each of the wars and conflicts in which the United States has been involved:

n Revolutionary War: 25,000

n Civil War: about 625,000

n World War I: 116,516

n World War II: 405,399

n Korean War: 92,134

n Vietnam War: 153,303

n Afghanistan and Iraq: 41,936

He also recognized the bravery of individuals buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

“The bravery of a bugler who would lead an infantry force should not be forgotten,” Lancaster said. “In a real sense, he’s not forgotten.”

Lancaster also encouraged the visitors to walk around and visit some of the graves in the historic cemetery before they left.