The message from Vince Melcher and his daughter, Pat Melcher Davis at the Mount Gilead River Cliff Cemetery was about remembering the high cost in lives for the freedom we enjoy as Americans.
Vince Melcher gave both the opening invocation for the River Cliff Memorial service and the closing prayer at the Veterans Park by the County Court House. He gave thanks for our freedom as American citizens and reminded the crowd that the freedom comes at the high price of many young lives.
Pat Davies wove the message “Freedom isn’t free” throughout her speech. She quoted Ronald Reagan on his visit to Normandy. Reagan said that the daggers thrust into the cliffs were those of the “heroes who died to keep a free continent.”
Davies asked for applause for the recognition of two World War II veterans in the audience. She said that Memorial Day is a day to remember those who made the “supreme sacrifice.” She told the story of World War II Medal of Honor recipients who gave their lives so we could have our freedom.
“Today we remember those heroes and we need to teach our children to remember them,” Davies said.
Davies asked the audience to remember to help and support the veterans, wives and families of the fallen who “died way too soon.”
“I’m here to make a statement that we as a community have the civic duty to support those families. We need to take care of them and put federal money into their support,” Davies said with passion.
The program announcer, Tim Sharrock, thanked the Boy Scouts for placing flags on the graves of all the veterans in the cemetery. Before reading the names of the roll call of veterans, Sharrock noted that 1.3 million men and women have given their lives in defense of our American freedom. He then read the names of Morrow County veterans who died in service: 29 World War I veterans, 43 World War II veterans who died in service, two who died in the Korean Conflict and eight who gave their lives in Viet Nam.
The rifle salute was by the Color Guard and Firing Squad commanded by Daniel L Fricke. They represent Nelson E Campbell Jr. V.F.W. Post 8054, and AMVETS Post 87.
At the close of the ceremony, the Mount Gilead Marching Band played the Star Spangled Banner and taps echoed over the hills of River Cliff Cemetery, played by Liam Shotwell.
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