JOHNSONBURG – Memorial Day services commenced in downtown Johnsonburg Monday morning with the veteran's walk followed by services at the gazebo on the American Legion lawn.
The "Star Spangled Banner" was played by the Johnsonburg Area High School Band under the direction of Tom Pavlock.
An invocation was presented by Pastor Bob Johnson.
Johnsonburg Council Member Harriet Stahli welcomed the large crowd who gathered on hand to honor the fallen soldiers.
"Memorial Day is the time for Americans to reconnect with their history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives for the ideals we cherish," Stahli said. "More than a million American servicemen and women have died fighting in the wars and conflicts this nation has been involved with since the colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775 to fight for our independence. Each person who died during these conflicts was a loved one cherished by family and friends; each was a loss to the community and to our nation.
"Our community has more than its share of losses. Johnsonburg has always stood behind and supported our military forces. In World War II almost one-third of our town was enlisted and fought in the war."
Honored guest State Representative and U.S. Army Reserve member Matt Gabler shared his thoughts on the meaning of Memorial Day.
"For many it's [Memorial Day] the first weekend of summer," Gabler said. "It's time to clean out the grill and have a party and relax. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, in fact it seems fittingly American, but as with anything in the fast-paced world the true meaning is too easy to lose in the hustle and bustle. We are all aware of the patriotic-themes, the American flags and the focus on military servicemen and women, but do we truly think about what separates Memorial Day apart from Veterans Day or the Fourth of July?
"Let us pause [Monday] to think about today's sobering theme - the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John, 'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.' Everyone who we honor today has shown us the greatest love, not just for friends, but in many cases for complete strangers. While we sleep in comfort and peace each and every night, we continue to do so because brave men and women volunteer to put themselves in harm's way in order to secure our peace."
Pick up a copy of the Tuesday, May 29, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.