By Aila Boyd
American Legion Post 93 held its 73rd Annual Memorial Day Observance on Monday in honor of Memorial Day.
The ceremony was held at the Fairview Cemetery in Buchanan.
American Legion Post 93 Commander Sarah Ware stressed that freedom isn’t always free.
“Today we gather to remember and honor our fallen service men and women for the sacrifices they’ve made,” Ware said. “It is their duty and sacrifices that have promised the freedom and way of life that we are so blessed to enjoy.”
She explained that although Memorial Day is considered the unofficial first day of summer, it’s important to remember the true meaning of the day. She added that she feels that it’s vital to educate the youth about the “somber national holiday.”
“While there are those who attempt to stifle our freedom, religion, and values, it is individuals like you who ensure we are able to continue to gather for patriotic assemblies like we have today,” she said to the service members in attendance.
Rep. Ben Cline (R-6th) served as the guest speaker.
“The Sixth District has a long history of heroism, of giving the blood and treasure of its sons and daughters,” Cline said. “There are few places that are as steeped in the sacrifices of those who fought our nation’s battles.”
He started his remarks by noting that roughly 1.1 million service members have died in battle. He then thanked all of the service members who were in attendance.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day when the day was first created following the American Civil War to honor those who had lost their lives during the conflict, he noted. In 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The act moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their original days to Mondays in order to allow for three-day weekends.
“Memorial Day provides us a chance to honor those who paid the last full measure,” Cline said.
He then quoted President Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Every week on his way into the nation’s capital, Cline said that he passes by Arlington National Cemetery, the World War I Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Korean War Vets Memorial.
“They serve as a sobering reminder of the debt that we owe to those who came before us in our nation’s struggles and those who sacrificed so that we may enjoy all that our republic offers,” Cline said of the memorials.
He ended his remarks by explaining that his thoughts were with Gold Star Families that said goodbye to their loved ones, not knowing that they would never see them alive again.
The National Anthem and special music were provided by David Austin and Keith Wood.
American Legion Post 93 Chaplain Roy Hensley provided both the invocation and the benediction.
Charlie LeFew performed Taps.
Following the ceremony, the Fairview/Mountain View Cemetery Association held a Memorial Day lunch at the historic Wilson Warehouse. Proceeds from the lunch will be used for maintenance of the cemetery.