Event honors veterans lost to conflicts

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Maj. Max Furman, a chaplain in the U.S. Army, speaks during the annual Memorial Day Service at Veterans Memorial Park in Williamsport on Saturday.

Fallen heroes along with local veterans past and present were honored Saturday during a ceremony at the Lycoming County Veterans Memorial Park in Williamsport. Located at the intersection of West Fourth Street and Wahoo Drive in the city’s west end, the park began in 1992 as a tribute to three local Navy submarine veterans who lost their lives in World War II.

The late George Logue, a local contractor and brother of one of the three submariners, donated the land where the memorial now sits according to Michael McMunn, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran and member of the Lycoming County Veteran’s Council. Through the efforts of the council and other volunteers, the park has grown to include monuments in honor of over 600 county veterans lost in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and other conflicts around the globe. A tank monument honors those who are currently serving or have served in the military.

During Saturday’s event, honor guards from around the area stood vigil as wreaths were laid at each of the seven monuments. Ernie Eakin, a 96-year-old veteran of World War II, sang the national anthem. “It’s an honor to be asked to participate in something like this,” Eakin said.

U.S. Army Maj. Max Furman was guest speaker. The twenty-three-year veteran stressed the importance of honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country. “No time is more fitting to ask ourselves if the lives we live merit the sacrifice of the brave men and women who have paid the full price,” Furman said. “We must never forget the fallen. Memorial Day doesn’t end at midnight on Monday.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Lycoming County commissioner Rick Mirabito. “We must find a way in our hearts to honor these people every day,” the commissioner said.

In addition to those participating in Saturday’s ceremony, many veterans and family members were in attendance to help honor those who served. Dan Reed, of Williamsport was a first-class missile technician aboard the submarine USS Will Rogers from 1968 to 1975.

“This is important,” Reed said. “These people need to be remembered. I was lucky. I came home. I had lots of friends who didn’t.”