Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Fallen

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On Monday, May 29 the American Legion Post 3, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6483 and the Milford Community Band honored the soldiers that have served the United States Military and given the ultimate sacrifice, with a Memorial Day Service held at the Milford Senior Center. Charles Garrod, a Korean War Veteran, assumed the role of Ceremony Chairman and led the event as over 100 residents came out to honor the memory of family and friends.

Mayor Bryan Shupe welcomed everyone to the ceremony and acknowledged a local veteran sitting in the front row, and her sister who passed away two years ago. The Levitsky sisters served as Army nurses during WWII as they helped many soldiers return home from Europe and also cared for hundreds of men that gave their lives in service to the United States.

“Stationed in Normandy, France both sisters most notably served in the Battle of the Buldge which was fought in the winter of 1944 and marked the last major offensive effort by the Nazis during the war. There were 1,303 battle casualties admitted,” said Mayor Shupe. “The sisters provided care to hundreds of men that we now honor today for their sacrifices on the battlefield. May we all live our lives in ways that honor that sacrifice.”

Walter Koopman, a Korean War veteran, read the poem “In Flanders Field,” which was written by  John McCrae in 1915. It was followed by an Armed Forces Tribute. As the anthem for each branch of the service played, veterans of that branch stood to be recognized. A wreath was presented by local Boy Scout Troops and members of each branch of the service placed a poppy in the wreath in remembrance of those lost.

Lt. Col. Vincent M. Orlando, Battalion Commander of the 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of the Delaware Army National Guard was the guest speaker at the event. “There are many ways to recognize Memorial Day,” Lt. Col. Orlando said. “For some it is a family picnic, for others a day on the beach, but none of those events really captures what this day is all about. Less than 1,000 feet from this building are the names of people who gave the ultimate sacrifice. These are people who grew up here, went to school here and some of them may have friends and family who remember them here today. Keep them and their sacrifice in your thoughts. You can show your patriotism by helping a neighbor, by volunteering at a homeless shelter, by supporting a veteran’s organization. This is the best way you can honor the sacrifice of those who died for our freedoms today.”

Delaware State Senator Gary Simpson said that when he was young, Memorial Day meant an extra day off of school but as he grew older he began to understand the true meaning. “The real reason for this holiday is to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice fighting for us,” said Senator Simpson. “I struggle with the heartache of families whose loved ones never came home. Can there be any more grief than a parent losing a child? The loss of a wife, husband? Not getting to say, ‘I love you’ just one more time. I know some of you here today have faced this loss, opened the door to hear the news that your loved one is not coming home. Today is meant to honor their lives and all the lives given for our freedom.”

State Representative Harvey Kenton told the audience that he had personally lost family in the armed forces. He mentioned a cousin who was lost in Vietnam and an uncle who died in World War II. “Today is to honor those that gave their all,” Representative Kenton said. “Many were just young boys and girls who gave their lives for our freedom. We gather today to recognize their courage and bravery. Bless our veterans who have served and those that are serving now. We are the home of the free, the land of the brave. We are America.”

State Representative Charles Postles also recognized the sacrifice made by veterans to protect freedom and liberty. He said that the day is set aside to remember those who have served, those who are serving and those who did not return home. “We do this to remember those who went before,” Representative Postles said. “We must challenge ourselves to not let their sacrifice be for nothing, but to continue to do all we can to move this great country forward.”

Following the twenty one gun salute, members of the Milford veterans organization read the names of members that have died in the past year as the remembrance bell was sounded after each name. Members of the audience joined the Milford community Band in the national anthem, the battle hymn of the Republic and God Bless America.

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