In overflow crowd of Cambrians and visitors attended traditional Memorial Day ceremonies at the Cambria Veterans Memorial Flag Stand on Monday, May 26, to honor members of the armed forces who fell in service to the country.
An estimated 400 persons, both seated and standing, basked in warm sunshine during a seamless blend of military pomp, flags, speeches, patriotic songs and recognition of veterans wearing uniforms or American Legion headgear adorned with decorations and service ribbons. Almost every point in the agenda featured participation by members of Cambria youth groups, their faces beaming with civic pride.
In prepared remarks, American Legion Post No. 432 Commander Brian Griffin summarized the purpose of Memorial Day, saying “Americans must remember that freedom is never free,” alluding to those who paid the ultimate price during the nation’s wars.
Following the raising of The Stars and Stripes, Korean War veteran Jim Wilson presented a moving recitation from memory of The Gettysburg Address, a reminder that the first Memorial Day was celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868.
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Cambria Boy, Cub and Girl Scouts then assisted in raising each military branch flag while Randy Schwalbe directed a men’s chorale singing the associated service song. A special flag recognized those missing in action or held prisoner.
Longtime Chamber of Commerce Board President Mel McColloch presented the “Merchant of the Year” award to Jennifer and Harvey Smith, owners of Harvey’s Honey Huts.
Joining the scouts in distributing miniature flags and red poppies to veterans in the audience were 4-H’ers. World War II veteran Chuck McMillan placed a memorial wreath at the flag stand.
John Ehlers and John Angel announced the names of Post 432 legionnaires deceased during the past year, and Alan Doctor played “Taps” to conclude the ceremony.
The Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary served a barbecue lunch for those who attended.