WELLSBURG - Attorney Frank Haas noted the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes advises there is a time for everything, including a time to mourn, but such times often are forced upon us, when we have little choice but to mourn.
But Memorial Day is different because it gives us time to remember and pay tribute to the military veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, Haas told those gathered Monday for a service sponsored by the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation at Brooke Hills Park.
Haas quoted from poetry by Robert Burns, Robert W. Service and Lawrence Binyon to stress the need to mourn our nation's fallen service members.
A TIME TO MOURN — Attorney Frank Haas noted Memorial Day is a time to mourn the many service members who have sacrificed their lives during services Monday sponsored by the Brooke County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation. Members of the foundation, Tri-State Young Marines and others listened after rain caused the service to be moved from the park to Brooke Hills Park’s American Legion shelter. - Warren Scott
He recalled being at a London airport on Remembrance Day, the British equivalent of Memorial Day, when over the public address system was piped a message from Queen Elizabeth advising everyone to observe two minutes of silence in honor of the nation's veterans.
Haas recalled being impressed by the silence that followed in that busy airport. Noting President Obama and Congress made a similar request for Monday, he asked everyone to join him for two minutes of silent reflection on those who engaged in battle for their country, worked behind the scenes to support them, those who died for their country and those who survive them.
He concluded with, "Lest we forget. Amen."
Paul "Bud" Billiard, publicity coordinator for the Veterans Park Foundation, noted West Virginia is among states with the highest number of veterans, past and present, with 9,052 losing their lives in conflicts dating from World War I to the present and more than 26,000 currently living in the Mountain State. He added Brooke County itself is home to 3,206 veterans.
The large number who died while serving was revealed as Ryan Weld, a former Air Force Reserve captain, and Alex Koscevic, local television news reporter and Brooke County native, read the names of the 186 whose names are inscribed on the granite wall overlooking the park's paddle boat pond.
The names ranged from local men killed in World War I to the more recent losses of Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith in Iraq and Army Sgt. C.J. McClain, who was killed in Afghanistan.
As each was read, a bell was run by Doug Lilly, commander of the Ohio Valley Veterans Memorial Squad.
The squad also delivered a military salute during the service. Also participating were Art Wells, pastor of Wellsburg First Baptist Church; Janice McFadden, director of Brooke Hills Park; the Tri-State Young Marines, led by Gabe Arlia; Margaret Camilletti, who performed the national anthem; former Brooke County prosecutor David B. Cross, who read "In Flanders Field"; and bagpiper Nila Boyd, who performed "Amazing Grace" and a medley of military branch anthems.