WEIRTON - Former Air Force intelligence officer Pat McGeehan urged scores of residents at Monday's Memorial Day observance not to take their liberty lightly.
A robust crowd was on hand for the ceremony at the Veteran's Memorial on Three Springs Drive, despite an overcast sky and cool temperatures.
"I never thought a veteran's job was the profession of war, I always thought ... of it as the profession of peace," said McGeehan, citing a passage from the Bible (Matthew 5:9) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
SPECIAL MOMENT — Milton Fabianich of the Last Man’s Club positioned a wreath at the base of the Veterans Memorial on Three Springs Drive during Monday’s Memorial Day observance. - Linda Harris
"That's why I believe the profession of arms is really the profession of peace. Peace, not war, should be our goal. War is necessary at times, but it should never be unnecessarily waged."
He reminded the crowd that those in service to their country take an oath to defend its Constitution, "and those oaths don't have an expiration date, they last forever."
"Remember that oath, never waiver in defense of Constitutional government," he said. "We owe it to our children to make sure it's passed on, intact."
McGeehan, an Air Force Academy graduate, completed a tour of duty overseas, supporting combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
He also referenced a speech his father, the late Lt. Col. Mark McGeehan, had made in Spokane, Wash., weeks before his B-52 crashed on base during a training mission, in which he reminded his listeners that "when we think of those who went before us, we should do so with humility, respecting their great personal sacrifice."
"Remember family and friends who are no longer with us who served, and those overseas right now who are engaged in bloody combat," he said. "Pray they all come home soon."
Wreaths were laid at the base of the monument for Gold Star Mothers; POW-MIAs; American Legion Post 10; Sons of American Legion; American Legion Post 10 Auxiliary; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2716; VFW Post 2716 Auxiliary; World War II veterans; the Last Man's Club; Korean veterans; Vietnam veterans; Persian Gulf veterans; Weirton Women's Club; Elks Club; First Choice America FCU; the Moose Lodge; HEPA; the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of Cove Presbyterian Church; Sons of Italy; the Tri-State Marine Corps and its auxiliary, and the Tri-State Young Marines.
George Ash served as master of ceremonies, with Mayor George Kondik welcoming residents, saying "we can only label them as heroes, anyone who's ever worked a uniform for our country." Members of the Weirton Women's Club performed several patriotic numbers, as did the Weir High Band. The American Legion Honor Guard also was on hand to salute their comrades.