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VFW holds Memorial Day ceremony

June 7, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The hall at the VFW Post 4353 was filled to capacity Memorial Day to remember "Those Who Gave All."

Memorial Day is the American holiday observed on the last Monday in May, to honor the men and women who died while serving their country. Due to the unusually warm day, the ceremony was held inside the VFW hall.

The post was decorated with American flags and POW/MIA flags. The POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States military personnel taken as prisoners of war (POW) or listed as missing in action (MIA).

Article Photos

At the ceremony, the VFW Color Guard fired a gun salute.


Pine Island VFW Chaplain Austin White opened the ceremony promptly at 11 a.m. with the posting of the colors, Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer for all past and current POWs and MIAs.

"We are here today to commemorate our comrades of the United States Armed Forces who have answered the last call," White said.?Memorial Day should not be confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day with a date set aside for honoring people who died while serving in the nation's armed forces.

Following the Civil War the day set aside was May 30. After World War II, it became Memorial Day and in 1968 Congress passed the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act" placing Memorial Day on the last Monday in May.?"I think too many people have lost sight of what Memorial Day is supposed to mean," American Legion Post #136 Commander Tom Lewis said. "It's become the official start of the summer season, but it's much more than that. It's a day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for their country to provide freedom for all of us."?White said, "This year President Trump issued a proclamation asking that flags be flown at half-staff until noon. The proclamation further states: 'Memorial Day is our nation's solemn reminder that freedom is never free. It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our nation. On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.'"

"President Thomas Jefferson wrote, and I quote, 'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance,'" White said. "To that end, never forget, never let your children forget, how fortunate we are to have a voluntary force of men and women willing to safeguard our freedom so we can rest soundly at night.

"The defenders of this nation fulfilled their duty and obligation to us," White said. "We have an equal duty to honor and fulfill our obligation to them."



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