Memorial Day is not a day about corporate America, retired Navy Chaplain James Looby told the crowd of 150 or more gathered at Eastlawn Memorial Park Monday.
“It is a day to honor those who put on a uniform for this country and gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Looby said.
“We’ve all heard it said, ‘Freedom is not free.’ I say to you today, ‘The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’”
Looby pointed out there were those in the audience, who could remember clearly, still, where they were and what they were doing on Dec. 7, 1941. There were those of “my generation who remember where we were and what we were doing Nov. 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated,” he added.
“Every one of us here today can remember where we were and what we were doing Sept. 11, 2001.”
While each generation has its “day of infamy” the date in 2001 has a defining difference of the day Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, Looby said.
The later day was a terrorist-led attack on America’s citizens, not a military attack on the military.
“We are still paying a high price for that day,” Looby said. “Many have, and many will continue to go beyond the call of duty. That’s the American way of life.”
The annual service has been organized the last several years by the VFW Post 3278 and Ladies Auxiliary and features a traditional posting of the colors at the start, then lowering the flag to half staff at the conclusion. This year, James Masters, assistant Brown County Veteran Services Officer, played “Taps” while the flag was lowered.
During the service, the the men’s quartet, 4 X Grace, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” Jerry Evans, minister at Southside Church, led the invocation and benediction.
“Father, many have paid the price so we could be free …” Evans prayed. “In the days ahead, we would do our part … we can pray faithfully for your protection of those in harm’s way.”