Sunday, October 11, 2020
76.3 F
The Villages

Villagers gather for Memorial Day ceremony to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice

The tradition of honoring those who died in service to their country can be traced to May 1866, when residents of Waterloo, N.Y., decorated the grave sites of their Civil War dead.

Today, 152 years as a national time of remembrance of those who gave their lives during all of America’s wars, Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, is commemorated throughout the country.

Members of the Memorial Park in The Villages Honor Guard honors those who gave their lives for their country in various wars and conflicts.

On Monday morning under threatening skies, some 250 Villagers gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in The Villages to remember and reflect.
Congressman Daniel Webster, the event’s guest speaker, talked about how protecting freedom often exacts the ultimate sacrifice.

“From the first days of our nation’s history, brave American men and women have been willing to step forward and make that sacrifice,” he said. “On this Memorial Day, we are comforted by the heritage of courage they established for us, and we are sobered as we recall their sacrifice. These courageous soldiers – each different in heritage and background – shared the common bonds of the armed forces: duty and sacrifice. Each of them was willing to look past race, religion, economic status, regional pride and other differences.”

From left: Veterans Memorial Park in The Villages President Richard Simpson, Congressman Daniel Webster and Commandant Nathan Pratt, of the Col. Phillip C. Delong Detachment #1267 of the Marine Corps League.

Webster said what remained was the essence of the American soldier – the fighting spirit of a proud, courageous people. He added that those soldiers chose to stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, to pay the price for freedom.

“Since the Revolutionary War, more than 44 million Americans have served in America’s military,” Webster said. “More than one million Americans – including thousands of Floridians – have given their lives in combat.”

Webster said it’s important to remember those brave soldiers as we look to the future and remember the past.

From left: Gerald Loomer, World War II veteran Ed Harvey, Cheryl Coco, Larry Hindman and seated, Izzie Mescan, pay their respects during Monday’s Memorial Day service.

“In today’s world, freedom comes cloaked in uncertainty. America still relies on her sons and daughters to defend her liberty,” he said. “The cost of independence remains high, but we must be willing to pay it. We do not pay it casually, but with profound reverence and thanks to those who have sacrificed their lives for America.”

Webster’s words weren’t lost on VMP Chaplin Tom Miller, who served in Vietnam in 1967-68. He wears a bracelet of three beaded strands that reflect the green, yellow and red stripes of the Vietnam Veteran Ribbon.

“Every day, this reminds me of my three friends who were killed in combat. They never made it past their 20th birthdays,” he said. “One, my roommate, died after being in Vietnam for less than two weeks.”

The Villages’ Sounds of Scotland bagpipers perform at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony.

The Memorial Day program featured somber musical selections from the Sounds of Scotland bagpipers, the singing of the national anthem and “God Bless America” by 14-year-old Cheyenne Rose; the recitation of “The Letter: The Answer Written” by Tiffany Little, daughter of VMP President Richard Simpson; and the traditional presentation of a memorial wreath by the VMP Honor Guard.

For Harold Sievers, VMP’s president emeritus who helped found the organization in 1998, Monday’s ceremony was a time to think about the military contributions of his family members and the present day’s acceptance of America’s servicemen and women.

“My father landed on Omaha Beach during D-Day, and my brother served in Korea. I was there from 1952 to 1956,” he said. “I also am pleased that the stigma of servicemembers of Vietnam is over. Now, I see youngsters thanking them for their service – something unheard of 50 years ago. For me, today’s ceremony helps bring these events full circle. It’s been a labor of love.”

A member of the audience at the Memorial Day service salutes those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

More Headlines

Lighthouse operator to try to stop revolving door at Spanish Springs location

The operator at the popular Lighthouse Point Bar & Grille is taking over a restaurant location in Spanish Springs that has changed hands many times over the years.

Villages Charter School stops reporting COVID-19 cases as outbreak hits

Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 among students and staff, The Villages Charter School is no longer reporting the number of new cases of the potentially deadly virus at its facilities to the Sumter County School District.

Photos

Two Tricolored Herons Fighting On Pond In Lady Lake

These two tricolored herons fighting were fighting on a pond in Lady Lake. Thanks to Sandy Johnson for sharing!

Pair Of Delta Flower Beetles On A Wildflower

Check out this pair of delta flower beetles on a wildflower in The Villages. Thanks to Ron Clark for sharing!

Little Tree Frog Inside Double Hibiscus In Lady Lake

Check out this little tree frog spotted inside this double hibiscus in Lady Lake. Thanks to Gina Collins for sharing!

Letters to the Editor

Forget the tickets at town squares

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Charlotte resident says The Villages needs to pull the plug on the idea of requiring tickets for the town squares.

Business

$28.7 million Lake Sumter Apartment Homes now open to renters

Lake Sumter Apartment Homes, a $28.7 million affordable housing community consisting of 158 apartment homes, is now open to renters.

Crime

Wildwood man nabbed in Marion County after crashing during high-speed pursuit

A Wildwood man accused of carjacking found himself behind bars late Wednesday afternoon after a high-speed pursuit that started in Citrus County.

Opinions

Kudos to Villages Public Safety Department for earning $6.52 million staffing grant

We applaud Villages Public Safety Fire Chief Edmund Cain, District Manager Richard Baier and the entire Villages fire department for being awarded a prestigious grant from FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Top Stories

VP arrives in The Villages with urgent message for voters

Vice President Mike Pence arrived Saturday afternoon in The Villages with an urgent message for voters. Villages-News.com's David Towns was there.

Lighthouse operator to try to stop revolving door at Spanish Springs location

The operator at the popular Lighthouse Point Bar & Grille is taking over a restaurant location in Spanish Springs that has changed hands many times over the years.

Villages Charter School stops reporting COVID-19 cases as outbreak hits

Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 among students and staff, The Villages Charter School is no longer reporting the number of new cases of the potentially deadly virus at its facilities to the Sumter County School District.

Letters to the Editor

Forget the tickets at town squares

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Charlotte resident says The Villages needs to pull the plug on the idea of requiring tickets for the town squares.

The Villages should have talked to golfers before making decision

A Village of Palo Alto resident, in a Letter to the Editor, contends The Villages could have saved itself some headaches if golfers had been consulted about an important rule change.

You may not know everything about the Morse family’s grip

A Stonecrester who had business ties with the Developer of The Villages offers some details about the Morse family that might not be so well known. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Crime

Wildwood man nabbed in Marion County after crashing during high-speed pursuit

A Wildwood man accused of carjacking found himself behind bars late Wednesday afternoon after a high-speed pursuit that started in Citrus County.

Oakland Hills man nabbed with stolen firearm he claims he bought at gun show

An Oakland Hills man was nabbed with a stolen firearm he claimed he bought at a gun show.

Police investigating tequila heist at Total Wine in Lady Lake

Police are investigating a tequila heist which occurred at the Total Wine superstore at Lady Lake Commons.