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‘They were fighting for freedom’

MORGANTOWN — It was a tale of fathers and sons during Thursday’s Veterans Day ceremonies at Courthouse Square.

Tony Setley smiled down at his son, Sammy — and Steve Harper said he was sure his son, Andrew, was smiling down on the proceedings on the windy morning.

Sammy, who accompanied his father to the service, just turned 7.

Andrew won’t get any older. The U.S. Army soldier was 19 when he died in Afghanistan in 2011.

Both dads have also worn the uniform for their country.

Steve Harper did submarine duty in the U.S. Navy, and Setley went to Washington, D.C., with his Pennsylvania National Guard unit to help quell the civil unrest of Jan. 6.

“Some days are easier than others, but it still gets rough,” Harper said. “I’m proud of my son. I’m proud of all our sons and daughters who serve.”

Talking about the sight of citizens grappling with police and of the military presence he was part of in the nation’s capital, Setley had a different adjective.

“It was a little surreal,” he said.

“I always tell Sammy about how brave the men and women who wear the uniform are. They wear that uniform for him,” Setley added.

Daughters of the American Revolution chapters placed wreaths at the square to commemorate the casualties from battles gone by and the present war on terror.

“Going back to the Revolutionary War, there was no question why the people were fighting,” said Jeremy Allilio, in his brief remarks. “They were fighting for freedom.”

Allilio, who did a combat tour in Iraq, is district commander of Morgantown VFW Post 548. His post linked up with Post 9916 in Westover for the ceremony.

After the wreaths and the honor guard volley, a lone trumpet sounded with an aching elegy: The 24 notes of “Taps.”

Mother Nature even staged a striking bit of symbolism.

A gust of wind blew over West Virginia’s state flag and another commemorative flag on the square.

The American flag, however, remained standing.

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