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Brocton speaker notes importance of honoring those among us

June 1, 2017
By Ann Belcher - editorial@westfieldrepublican.com , Westfield Republican

PORTLAND - Morning clouds opened up to a beautiful backdrop at Portland's Evergreen Cemetery, the setting for 2017's Memorial Day Service Monday presented by the John W. Dill American Legion Post 434 and AMVETS Post 868.

Hundreds from the Brocton/Portland area took shade under the sprawling evergreens as they listened to the day's keynote speakers and music provided Brocton Central School's high school band musicians under the direction of Mr. Jason Hornbuckle.

Post Commander Henry Link, in his opening remarks, reminded the crowds of the day's purpose.

Article Photos

Photo by Ann Belcher
Cub Scout Pack members and leaders do the honors of raising The Red, White and Blue to full mast Monday morning from Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery.

"Again, our nation has assembled to honor its heroic dead. Under the sod, or beneath murmuring waves, their bodies sleep in peace. But in the destiny of veterans, their souls go marching on. Because of them our lives are free. Because of them, our nation lives. They fought for us; for us they fell. Now with one accord, in deepest reverence, we do them honor."

Local Cub Scout Pack 217 and their leaders raised the American flag as it whipped in the breeze, and attendants were next led in the Pledge of Allegiance by AMVETS Post 868 Commander George Travis.

Sons of the American Legion Squadron 434 Commander Herb McIntyre gave a touching reading of The Final Inspection, to those in attendance and was followed by younger generations representing the Legion post. Girls State delegates for the year, Elise Miller and Jessica Link read "What Is a Veteran?" and "Why Wear a Poppy?" respectively educating the crowds on who was being honored, and what the honorable traditions mean to those in The United States.

Timothy Skinner and David Skinner, Boys State Delegates and brothers of an active duty United States Airman, both delivered "Freedom Has a Price" and "Ragged Old Flag" respectively. With his delivery of Johnny Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" David has held the honor two years in a row as the regional American Legion Oratorical Contest Winner.

Guest speaker for the day was Dave Adams, Veterans Service Officer for Chautauqua County's Dunkirk Office. Adams eloquently touched on an issue that so many friends and family of what is considered the Greatest Generation have experienced, having limited knowledge of the actions, heroism and sacrifices of the soldiers among them.

Adams recalled the experience of the passing of a high school classmate's father, Lt. Col. William O'Brien, a United States Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. Reflecting on what he learned posthumously about the veteran, he recalled that his Medal of Honor was awarded for the dates June 20 through July 7, 1944 when Lt. Col. O'Brien selflessly put himself in harm's way and in full exposure of Japanese enemy lines in order to redirect tank turrets that were aimed incorrectly. Continuing to lead his men through close range battles, even taking a pistol in each hand as he went.

Adams concluded, "There are many more individuals like William O'Brien who live on as some of the most courageous heroes in our history. Those in the military and veteran communities know that we must ensure these individuals are never forgotten, and that their actions stay alive in our memories."

Legion Chaplain Fran Lus concluded the service with a benediction, followed by a three-volley salute and the playing of Taps by the BCS band members and their instructor.

Tom White, of the legion post read the rolls of the Portland Evergreen Cemetery numbering 677 veterans across all war times before the next service was held at Portland's Pecor Street Cemetery. The community followed to the Legion Post Monday for a community luncheon following the day's services.

Tom White, of the legion post read the rolls of the Portland Evergreen Cemetery numbering 677 veterans across all war times before the next service was held at Portland's Pecor Street Cemetery. The community followed to the Legion Post Monday for a community luncheon following the day's services.

 
 
 

 

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