by Terry Rogers
On Monday, May 27, local dignitaries and members of the community gathered at Milford Senior Center to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to this country. Local veterans and current military members were recognized for their service.
The program began with the presentation of colors by the VFW Color Guard and members of the Boy Scouts, followed by an opening prayer by Pastor Claudia Waters of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
“Many military members lost their lives to protect our freedom,” Mayor Archie Campbell said. “Soldiers, both men and women lost their lives defending our freedoms. When you see a person in uniform, it is important that we say thank you for their service and to recognize the sacrifices they are willing to make for us.”
Rachel Gutshall performed the National Anthem as well as America the Beautiful, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and God Bless America. Mark Dissinger read the poem In Flanders Field. The Milford Community Band played the anthem of each branch of the military as members of the branch stood at attention during each song. A representative of each branch of the military placed a poppy in a wreath as well.
“It is nice to recognize the service members here today,” Major General Hugh T. Broomall, Past Commander of the Delaware Air National Guard, said. “The epitath I once saw on the tombstone of a fallen soldier read “For your tomorrow, we gave our today.” That says everything about why we serve and why it is important to recognize their monumental sacrifice. I am reminded of a quote from President Abraham Lincoln “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolved these dead shall not have died in vain.’ Our men and women fell in the jungles of the South Pacific, in the icy mountains of Korea, in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan and in the sands of Iraq.”
Broomall reminded the audience that June 6 will mark the anniversary of D-Day, a date when an estimated 5,000 Allied troops were killed. Broomall pointed out that the first man to die on D-Day was an “ordinary man.”
“Harrington’s own John Butler died on June 6, 1944,” Broomall said. “He was killed in action at Normandy. In the words of Lincoln, it is important that his death not be in vain. We honor our heroes and we remember our heroes. We stand for those patriots today. Many of them did not want to leave home. They did not fight because they enjoyed fighting. The did it because the believed in a cause. We still have Americans who are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Nothing can replace the hole left behind by a fallen service member but it says much about our country when heroes are still called to serve.” Broomall also thanked the families of those who have served, acknowledging their sacrifices as well.
State Representative Charles Postles told the crowd that he was honored to be a part of the celebration of those who served, continue to serve and who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“We have to remember those who gave full measure to protect this country,” Postles said. “We also need to thank those that served whether it was a short-term or a career. Many returned a different person than when they left. We need to understand their sacrifice and let them know how much it is appreciated. There are still those who would challenge our way of life, our freedom. We need to be sure that what was done in the past was done in the name of a cause and was not done without valor.”
Saying how honored he was to be able to recognize those who had given the ultimate sacrifice, State Representative Bryan Shupe explained that there were many reasons to honor the fallen.
“I have a two-and-a-half year old daughter,” Representative Shupe said. “What we say to her all the time is that she can be anything she wants to be. We say this with confidence and as an absolute because of the sacrifices of the American soldier. Freedom is given to us by our Creator but it is protected by our soldiers. Let us all live lives worthy of their sacrifice.”
Following a 21-gun salute, the names of service members who passed away since last Memorial Day were read with a bell sounded with each name. Members of the Boy Scouts assisted former Representative Harvey Kenton, who is a veteran, create the POW/MIA Fallen Comrade Table. The playing of TAPS, a closing prayer by Pastor Waters and the retiring of the colors by the VFW 6483 Color Guard followed.