VINTON — In scenes repeated all over Gallia County this weekend, family and friends gather at ceremonies to decorate graves and remember the sacrifices made by those who served their country in a time of conflict, the purpose of the three-day Memorial Day holiday that closes today with more ceremonies and observations.
One such observation was held Sunday at Vinton Memorial Park, where American Legion Post 161 staged its annual program honoring the memory of local veterans and others who served.
Post Commander Bob McCarley told those in attendance that the toll on human lives in America’s wars, starting with the Revolution of 1775 to 1783, has increased significantly because soldiers “did their duty as they knew it.
Perhaps the most shattering statistic arose from World War II, when in the 48 months the U.S. was a combatant more than 1 million casualties were recorded. That’s why veterans who fought in that war against a totalitarian mindset are known as “the greatest generation,” popularized as the title of Tom Brokaw’s book about these men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve democracy.
“Without our contribution to the war, civilization as we know it would not exist today,” McCarley said. “It’s hard to tell sometimes that these people were in the war, because when it was over, they hung up their uniforms and returned to civilian life. Look at who they are, what they have been and what they have done for freedom in the world. We should look to these people for guidance in what we should do in the future.”
The ceremony was marked by the presence of an honor and color guard from the Legion post, which also provided a 21-gun salute to the veterans buried at Vinton Memorial Park. Howard Wellington provided the invocation and Jennifer Wellington sang the national anthem in addition to patriotic songs. Diane Russell placed a memorial wreath at the base of the cemetery’s flagpole, and the Gettysburg Address was read by Bob Murphy as a reminder of the “last full measure of devotion” veterans are due.
Today, the Gallia County Veterans Service Commission’s annual parade was held in downtown Gallipolis, followed by the Memorial Day observation in the Gallipolis City Park at 11 a.m. Earlier, at 9 a.m., Cadot-Blessing Camp 126 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War held a ceremony in Pine Street Cemetery.