STEUBENVILLE - Raindrops fell like tears from heaven Monday as Memorial Day services were held at Union and Mount Calvary cemeteries.
More than 100 people gathered at both cemeteries to remember those who had served in the military and had fallen in past wars.
"They passed the torch to us. That is why we have the greatest people in the world. We are the American people. And today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We owe a great debt to those who gave their lives for our country. We dedicate this day to them," said American Legion Ohio, 2nd Vice Commander David Hilliard during the Union Cemetery ceremony.
REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN HEROES — Linda Lancia played taps Monday morning at Union Cemetery during Memorial Day services. She was joined by Rick Hicks, who also played taps for more than 100 people gathered at the soldiers and sailors Civil War monument. - Dave Gossett
"Americans must remember freedom is never free. Our fallen heroes paid a high price. Memorial Day is a day when we come together to remember those who died and served our country. Somewhere today an American soldier will touch a memorial and remember a friend who didn't come back home. The men and women we honor today are men and women we should never forget," Hilliard said, a three tour Vietnam War veteran.
"Do not take this day as only a day for a picnic. Our men and women in the military took on the battle so that we may be free. You should appreciate what you have today because our heroic servicemen and women perished for our freedom," he continued. "I also want to thank our military families. The strength and support you show is so great for our servicemen," remarked Hilliard.
"And teach your children heroes don't wear a cape, they wear dog tags. Teach your children to stay in school. Men and women fought so our kids could have an education. And we must teach our children about Memorial Day," added Hilliard.
Memorial Day services at Mount Calvary Cemetery at the Coronation Mausoleum started with a Mass concelebrated by the Revs. Paul Hrezo and John McCoy.
Don Hall, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke to approximately 135 people gathered in the mausoleum Monday morning.
Hall was sent to Vietnam as a platoon leader in 1967 and left a year later as a company commander.
"I want you to think about the person you love more than anyone else in the world. Somewhere today there will be a knock on the door that will bring a family grief and that grief for their loved one will never go away," related Hall.
"I don't believe the veterans of this country are ready to consign the nation to the dustbin of history. The veterans we remember today had a rendezvous with history. They were just ordinary folks. They delivered your newspaper, they stocked the shelves in the grocery store and they served Mass on Sundays. They were the boys from the farms, the coal mines and steel mills," explained Hall.
"And they gave birth to an entirely new concept of government. They believed our government existed as our servant," he added.
"No people who have ever lived on this earth have fought harder or paid a higher price. Our veterans have left a legacy of freedom and taught their children to sacrifice for us and love our country. They taught us what it means to be a citizen of the land of personal freedom. They thought of themselves as ordinary people but the world thought of them as much more," stated Hall.
"We owe it to the heroes who died to honor our veterans today. Our veterans fought for our country, our safety and our freedom. We have faith the Lord will bless you and keep you," concluded Hall.
And as the tears from heaven began to fall harder, the sound of taps, played by trumpeter Kim Vaudrain, began to echo across the hillside of Mount Calvary.