EATON — The City of Eaton held its annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony on Monday, May 28. The day brought veterans and families together to honor those who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. It was a day of remembrance and thanks, as the city took time to honor those lost over the years.
First, the parade stopped at the West Main Street Bridge for a wreath ceremony honoring those who were never brought home to their families.
“The purpose of the ceremony this morning is to honor those sailors lost at sea, soldiers buried in unidentified graves, and those missing in action,” VFW Post 8066 Commander Bradley Bush said.
Patty Parks, with the VFW Auxiliary, presented the wreath, which was tossed below the bridge, into the water.
Next, the parade continued to the soldier memorial at Mound Hill cemetery.
John Kramer, a Marine Corps veteran, was the keynote speaker for this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony.
“It is with great pleasure and honor that I am here today. The first thing I would like to do, is thank everybody for participating. Especially the American Legion, VFW, and all the Auxiliaries that made this possible and brought us all together here today,” he said.
“Think about it for a moment. The age group today is pretty close to 100, between the youngest and oldest here that is a major accomplishment in this town. It is great to look out and we are glad to be here. I thank the band for putting us in the mood here today. As a two year veteran of the United States Marine Corps I say ‘semper fi’ to my fellow Marines and would like to acknowledge the other military people here today.
“Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate. It is not a day to honor the living. It is a day to honor the dead, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Those who are buried in this cemetery, nearby cemeteries, cemeteries across our nation, and cemeteries across the world. Plus, those who never came home. That number is estimated to be about 82,000 soldiers, at least one I am aware of from this particular area.”
Preparing for the speech, he said, he came across the following words in an article (words he did not write), “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who gave us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the politician, who ensures us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped in the flag.”
Kramer added, “We have awarded medals to many soldiers, put their names on monuments and buildings, all to honor them for their bravery. Nothing can ever replace the hole left behind a fallen service member, no number of medals and ribbons can confront those left behind.
“Indeed, for some Americans, the Memorial Day weekend kicks off a time of barbecue and fun, but the true meaning of Memorial Day goes much deeper. On this Memorial Day, take some time to thank and remember those men and women, some of who were just teenagers, from our town and around the country who have served and died, but who will never be forgotten.
“I want to thank you for attending today. God bless you and your families, God bless our troops, and God bless America.”
The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary presented their wreaths, followed by Something Good performing a medley. Receptions were held at both the American Legion and VFW posts.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH