Monday, June 2, 2014

Patriotic Memorial Day Reflections

Here's a nice article that appeared recently in The Villages Daily Sun Newspaper.
Fred Blevins, center in the picture, is wearing TheFlagshirt.com's Abraham Lincoln Patriotic Men's Polo Shirt





By KATIE LEWIS, DAILY SUN STAFF WRITER
The VillagBob Westfall will never forget the comrade who saved his life in Vietnam.

That’s one reason he attended the Memorial Day Ceremony Monday at Veterans’ Memorial Park of The Villages, where he was among hundreds of Villagers and area residents who gathered to celebrate the observance.

“A great way to honor our fallen veterans is with events like these,” said the Village of St. Charles resident. “Just as it’s important to honor and take care of our still-living veterans.”

Richard Simpson, president and commander of Veterans’ Memorial Park, opened the ceremony with a welcome.

He recounted the history of the observance, known as Decoration Day until 1971, when Congress declared it a national holiday known as Memorial Day.

The Veterans’ Memorial Park Honor Guard marched in as The Villages Sounds of Scotland played “Scotland the Brave.”

The sounds of the bagpipes hung in the air; then silence as the crowd of red, white and blue stood at attention for the presentation of the flags.

Flags representing the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard were presented with assistance from the Veterans’ Memorial Park Honor and Color Guards.

Representatives from the Jewish War Veterans Post 352, American Legion Post 347, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter No. 1036, the Puc Puggy Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and more were present.

“I’m glad to see so many veterans and loved ones of veterans come out today,” Westfall said. A member of the Army, he served in Vietnam for two years.

“It’s important to remember those who were lost,” Westfall said. “The camaraderie you build in the service -— you just can’t explain it.”

The patriotism was contagious at the ceremony as the crowd sang “God Bless America” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Alice Sauer, of the Village of Glenbrook, put her hand on her heart as she sang along to “God Bless America.”

“You get a very patriotic feeling when you hear these songs,” Alice said. “Feelings of gratitude and sadness.”

Her husband, Gale, served in Korea in the Army. It was their first time attending the ceremony at Veterans’ Memorial Park in The Villages.

“This is just wonderful, seeing so many veterans all together in one place,” Alice said. “It’s really a great feeling being here.”

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