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‘Those we honor today were brave when it counted most’

MORGANTOWN — It would have been easy, VFW Post 548 Commander Jeremy Allio said, to make excuses — to relent to the hassles of a seemingly endless pandemic and just take a year off.

It would have been easy.

But it would have been wrong.

“The men and women of America’s armed forces have sacrificed and given everything they have, including their very lives, for our safety and the freedom we enjoy,” Allio said. “Their hopes and dreams and plans were never fulfilled because their lives and their time on this earth was much too brief.”

So two dozen or so spectators gathered at the Monongalia County Courthouse Square Veteran’s Memorial on a sunny but cool Monday morning in honor of those who died on our behalf.

The brief ceremony continues a local tradition that began in 1919, when a group of women volunteered to organize a march from the courthouse to the Oak Grove Ceremony — at the end of South High Street.

And just as it has each year since 1953, the observance included World War II veteran Billy Williams.

WWII veteran speaks Memorial Day 2021
Jeremy Allio (left), listens as William Williams, of VFW 548, speaks during the ceremony.

Now 94, he opened the proceedings with a familiar prayer.

“As long as two comrades survive, so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead,” Williams said.

The ceremony featured a laying of wreaths followed by a 21-gun volley and 24 notes from a single trumpet — Taps.

“There is no freedom without bravery,” Allio reminded the crowd. “And those we honor today were brave when it counted the most.”

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  • Standing at prayer at the Memorial Day wreath ceremony on the Courthouse Square Monday.
  • Glenn Stafford lays the wreath for the Vietnam War at the wreath laying ceremony on Memorial Day Monday at the courthouse square.
  • Frances Van-Scoy from Zackquill Morgan GAR holds the American flag at the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony Monday, on the Courthouse Square.