MONTGOMERY - The borough's Memorial Day festivities began with a parade down Broad Street and ended with a stark reminder about what the day means to the nation.
Steve Klapp, commander of American Legion Bower Decker Post 251, Montgomery told those gathered in the grass of the borough's community park, that the hell of war is the price of freedom.
"War is a 24-hour commitment," he said. "It brings the inescapable reality of death."
Local veterans were very much a part of Montgomery’s Memorial Day services held at the community park. Steve Klapp, commander of American Legion Bower Decker Post 251, served as keynote speaker.
Imagine, he said, the life of a soldier on the front lines of war and being alone, scared and hungry. It is what soldiers have faced throughout history.
"Happiness is not free," he said.
But veterans have been willing to pay the price of defending a way of life worth dying for.
Bower Decker Post 251 Chaplain Lynn Crist led the audience in prayer, reminding everyone to remember the fallen veterans.
"Teach us to honor them," he said.
Klapp called off the names of local fallen veterans.
For many people, Memorial Day means picnics and celebrations, but for many families of veterans killed in wars, it's a day of mourning, he said.
Mayor Andrew Onufrak said the day is one for remembering those who died for their nation.
Norma Jean Alexander, of Bower Decker Post 251 Auxiliary, placed a wreath on the grass of the VFW Monument.
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Aaron Koser, a 2008 graduate of Montgomery High School and a recent graduate of West Point, spoke briefly about what it means to wear a military uniform.
He said all soldiers join the military with the uncertainty that they might be putting their lives on the line some day.
"Our soldiers write out a check, knowing they might have to cash it," he said.
The ceremony included patriotic music from the Montgomery Area High School Band.