Honoring those who sacrificed for freedom

Nearly 100 people attended yesterday’s Memorial Day services at the Tyrone American Legion Post No. 281. Memorial Day is meant as a time to honor those who did not come home from serving their country.
Rep. Jerry Stern was the guest speaker and shared with those in attendance a few stories of people who experienced the loss of a loved one.
Stern started with a moment of silence in memory of the over 500,000 who have given their lives in battle.
After the moment of silence, Stern talked about today’s soldier.
“For today’s military personnel of the United States, the mission to defend freedom lives on, strengthened by our eternal memory of American patriots who gave their lives to preserve peace and democracy for future generations. No words can adequately describe the sacrifice of the men and women we honor today. There are words on the 2nd Infantry Division’s Memorial in Burma that have a special meaning on this Memorial Day, as we now remember those who lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom and other engagements.
“The memorial was erected during World War II to honor the many valiant American soldiers who never returned home from the Burmese jungles and fields. Fifty-nine years later, the inscribed words are just as relevant and just as powerful.
“When you go home tell them of us. For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
Stern praised out citizen-soldiers and said because of their sacrifice, freedom endures today.
American lives have been lost protecting freedom or liberating oppressed countries throughout the world.
“In places like Afghanistan and Iraq, our troops are putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom and liberate people from oppressive regimes,” said Stern. “That is why your attendance at this Memorial Day ceremony is very important. It sends a clear signal that America stands united behind our Armed Forces. Just as we have in the past and just as we will in the future. It says that you care enough about this country to take a moment of remembrance.
Many look at Memorial Day as a day away from the office or a chance to get away with the family. To Stern, that isn’t the case.
“The fact remains that Memorial Day is more than a holiday,” said Stern. “It is a day when our nation should express gratitude to the men and women in the military who give real meaning to the phrase ‘All-American.’
“Sadly the unprovoked attack on September 11, 2001, was a reminder that we should never take our bountiful blessings or our freedom for granted,” said Stern. “In the years to come I hope that even more Americans join us for ceremonies like this. We owe it to our friends and neighbors who died defending liberty and justice.”
Wreaths were placed in memory of those lost in battle by the Anderson-Denny VFW Post No. 4559, the American Legion Post No. 281, the Tyrone Fire Police, the BPOE Elks Lodge No. 212 and the Sons of the American Legion.
The ceremony concluded with a salute from the firing squad and Chip Dillon and Kris Laird playing Taps.
“Memorial Day is more than a day off work for the people who attended yesterday’s ceremony. It is a day for thanks for the service and to mourn the loss of those who gave all.”