American Legion remembers Veterans
Memorial Day services were observed throughout Emery County on May 27 by American Legion groups from Ferron, Cleveland/Huntington and Orangeville.
The Orangeville Cemetery was magnificently dressed in colorful flags, flowers and candelabra. Each of the Veteran graves sported a United States flag put there by the Humphrey family. A task the Humphrey family has taken upon themselves every year as part of Tom Humphrey's legacy.
Tommy Reid the American Legion Post 39 Commander and the master of ceremonies welcomed the crowd of families and visitors to the 2013 Orangeville Memorial Day Ceremony sponsored by the American Legion. Reid said the reason we are here is to honor our dead and to honor our veterans. On Memorial Day the flag is to fly at half-mast. It is a special Memorial Day because they have requested that flags all over the nation be flown at half-mast, due to the destruction in Oklahoma.
Sadie Fishbeck, Reid's daughter, sang the National Anthem. After which Boy Scout Troop 300 of Orangeville posted the colors.
After that the members of the American Legion Honor Guard raised their rifles to the firing into the air position and on command fired the 21-gun salute to honor the dead. Willie Frisbie playing on his bugle "taps."
Reid introduced Doug Lowe of Castle Dale as a former member of the Coast Guard. Often we hear from the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, but the Coast Guard is a big part of defending our country today. The Coast Guard has traditions very similar to the US Navy. Lowe said, he and his family are newcomers to Emery County and some of the prettiest vistas on this earth are right here. Remembering all of our dead has been important to me especially remembering my parents every year. I was taught how important that is and how important it is to remember our fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen. That is why we are here for today. We are here to remember those that have given so much to help maintain liberty in this nation.
Lowe related a story of when his father was in the Navy, in the Pacific and was getting ready to relieve a person on watch in the gun turret. This watch was to look out for Kamikaze planes in the sky. A young sailor and friend asked if they could trade duty. It was approved. During this watch two Kamikaze planes hit the ship. One of those planes hit the gun turret, killing the person standing the watch where my father could have been.
I somewhat remember the Korean War. I remember specifically the Vietnam War and the men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice. I remember the Vietnam War where the men in uniform came home to an unfair and unkind reception. This morning I heard on the radio that 6,600 men and women had been killed in the armed forces since 2001 and more than 50,000 have been seriously injured. These young men and women have sacrificed themselves for righteous principles for the preservation of a civil society and liberty. I am so grateful to honor them this day.
The Coast Guard is a small organization. It has a long and glorious history and has the distinction of having the oldest continuous history of naval service. The Coast Guard has a longer history than the Navy. There are 42,000 people currently serving in the Coast Guard. Military mission is only one of their missions. They do search and rescue, they do maritime protection and maritime environment protection. They do illegal immigration and drug smuggling interdiction. They do Port Security and this is a very important mission, they inspect and re-inspect vessels.
I am grateful to have served a full career in the Coast Guard for this greatest nation. I do hope and pray that God will continue to protect the United States of America. We need his help now than probably ever before. Thanks for this opportunity.
Reid asked Christine Story in the auxiliary for her comments. Story began by saying that Tom Humphrey and his family used to put the flags for the veterans that have passed on. Since Tom has passed on his family continues to put flags on the graves of veterans. Grace Humphrey and her family have again put the flags on the graves this year.
The American Legion Auxiliary sends packages to our young men and women that are in harms way. They are in Iraq, Afghanistan or Korea. If you have family members that are overseas serving in the military, please give us their address. Thanks to all of you that have donated for the boxes being sent. Story then read a letter from Stephen Farr serving in Korea, thanking the American Legion Auxiliary for the packages received. We are having a bake sale today to help pay the postage.
Reid said the American Legion Auxiliary is the backbone of the Legion and thanked them for their service. Reid then thanked the scouts and the mayor for the hard work and dedicated service that has beautified the Orangeville Cemetery.
Mayor Pat Jones thanked the American Legion. "As Mayor of the city I want to thank everyone that has been involved in serving our country. The names on this Monument will give you an idea of how many Veterans have lived in Orangeville or are from Orangeville. I have great respect for anyone that has served in the military or served our country. I heard an old saying that goes, "They give their today's so we can have our tomorrows." As a city we have always tried to be very supportive of our veterans and military people. The city has entered into a covenant with the military to support veterans and those serving in the military. I appreciate anyone that has done anything to keep us free.
"Thanks to the Humphrey family for putting the flags on the graves. This has been an outstanding service over the years and thanks to Tom Reid for setting up this event," said the mayor. Reid thanked everyone for coming out and said, God Bless America. The American Legion Honor Guard was called to attention while the Boy Scout Troop retired the flags.
Services were also held at Elmo, Cleveland, Lawrence and Huntington. American Legion Post 73 conducted the services at these cemeteries. Commander Ray Quinn thanked local veterans and their families for their service. Jennie Olson from the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary told about the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Buddy Poppy Program. Olson explained proceeds from poppy sales provide financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation's veterans. She read the poem in Flanders Field by John McCrae. "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, 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."
Quinn introduced Blake Jones, who recited from memory "Ragged Old Flag." Quinn remarked, "When Blake recites Ragged Old Flag there is rarely a dry eye." Jones said "I walked through a county courthouse square on a park bench, an old man was sittin' there. I said, "your old court house is kinda run down, He said, "naw, it'll do for our little town". I said, "your old flag pole is leaned a little bit, and that's a ragged old flag you got hangin' on it". He said, "have a seat", and I sat down, "is this the first time you've been to our little town" I said, "I think it is".
He said "I don't like to brag, but we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag. "You see, we got a little hole in that flag there, when Washington took it across the Delaware and It got powder burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching it, writing "Oh, Say Can You See." It got a rip in New Orleans, with Packingham & Jackson tugging at its seams and it almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though. She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville, and she got cut again at Shiloh Hill. There was Robert E. Lee and Beauregard and Bragg, and the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag. "On Flanders Field in World War I, she got a big hole from a Bertha Gun, she turned blood red in World War II. She hung limp, and low, a time or two. She was in Korea, Vietnam, she went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam. She waved from our ships upon the briny foam and now they've about quit wavin' back here at home in her own good land here she's been abused, she's been burned, dishonored, denied an' refused, and the government for which she stands has been scandalized throughout the land and she's getting thread bare, and she's wearin' thin, but she's in good shape, for the shape she's in. Cause she's been through the fire before and I believe she can take a whole lot more. "So we raise her up every morning and we bring her down slow every night, we don't let her touch the ground, and we fold her up right.
On second thought I do like to brag, cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag." After Jones was finished there was a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. The microphones and the speakers for the services was provided by Fausett Mortuary and Gary Kofford.