Twenty-one shots echoed through downtown Morgantown on Monday followed by 24 notes from a single trumpet.
A light crowd gathered on the Monongalia County Courthouse square on a warm, sunny Memorial Day to honor those who died on our behalf and those they left behind.
“From the patriots who fired the first shots of the American Revolution to the forces deployed around the world today, America has been blessed with citizens who will serve, fight and sometimes die for this country,” said Commander Jeremy Allio of VFW Post 548. “It’s not for money or medals that such people step forward. It is instead for patriotism; a love for this country and the for the values for which it was founded — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The ceremony, which featured a laying of wreaths along the square’s Veteran’s Memorial, was opened with a prayer from 91-year-old Billy Williams, a World War II veteran.
Williams said the first local Memorial Day service was held in 1919, when a group of women volunteered to organize a march from the courthouse to the Oak Grove Cemetery.
“I’ve attended every one since 1953. When I started, we had a service here at 11 a.m., then we went over to Oak Grove and had a service. Then we’d come back to the [VFW], and we had a service up there,” he said, recalling large crowds. “They don’t do it like that anymore.”
Standing in full uniform in the midday heat, Williams said that as long as comrades return home from battle, this country will remember its fallen.
“This Memorial Day, with heavy hearts, we recall those lost. They had names. They had families. They were our brothers, sisters, moms, dads and children.”
Follow The Dominion Post on Twitter @DominionPostWV. Email Ben Conley: firstname.lastname@example.org.