Memorial Day Thoughts For 2011

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In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

photo

Dennis Fendler/Roundup

Payson Town Council member Su Connell read excerpts from a speech by Vietnam veteran Lt. Brian Riley, USMC, retired, concerning our veterans whose lives were forever changed by war during Monday’s Memorial Day service at Green Valley Park.

Scarce heard amid the guns below ...

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields ...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands, we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields ...

— Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae,

MD (1872-1918)

Memorial Day 2011 was one to remember. Flags flew, old soldiers marched, the music blared, tears were wiped away and the crowd sang.

Every speaker, from master of ceremonies Lu Carpino, Mayor Kenny Evans, Councilwoman Su Connell, Police Chief Don Engler, Fire Chief Marti deMasi, Pastor Lowell Andrews and Tonto Apache Tribe representative Louise Lopez delivered poignant messages, whether from a personal experience or a historical event.

None delivered a more important message than town council member Connell. She read excerpts from a speech by Vietnam veteran Lt. Brian Riley, USMC, retired, concerning our veterans whose lives were forever changed by war.

Every war has had veterans return home bodily safe but scarred for life by the horrors endured. Many still suffer today. Many died destitute, victims not of the bullets of war but of drugs or alcohol abuse in a futile attempt to heal the scars. For once a soldier has hunted men and in turn been hunted, their life is changed forever.

Thank you, Su, for making us remember our responsibility to these forgotten warriors.

Led by Colonel Bill Sahno, USMC, retired, the entire Payson Patriotic Committee is to be commended for the weekend long series of events, culminating at Green Valley Park’s veterans memorial.

Most importantly, thanks to all of you, our Payson residents and friends, who took special time from a busy three-day holiday to share in the moment honoring our country’s fallen. I saw the tears and heard you sing the songs. I saw the pride when you stood as your branch of service’s hymn was played. I also saw that reflective look in your eye, remembering that special buddy.

For most in attendance this weekend, our fallen comrades have been remembered for many, many Memorial Days. Now, it is our responsibility to hold those currently serving close to our hearts, for surely, Memorial Day 2012 will present us with a new list of fallen heroes.

We must remain vigilant and we must never forget.

Semper Fi!

— by Roundup Publisher John Naughton

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