MANSFIELD - VFW Post 6757 honored fallen comrades with a parade and service Monday.
Dressed in full uniforms, four members of the veterans' organization, representing the Army, Air Force and Navy, first marched in the stifling heat from W.L. Miller Elementary School to the Veteran's Memorial Park. They stood for another hour or so, waiting for the 11 a.m. service to start, then conducting the half-hour service.
About 100 community members attended, many standing under the only shade tree in the park, to try to stay cool. Others made use of umbrellas.
CHERYL R. CLARKE/Sun-Gazette
VFW Post 6757 Senior Vice Commander Robert Boyce salutes after placing a wreath of remembrance at the Veterans’ Memorial Park monument during Memorial Day services Monday.
Following a rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" by Mansfield High School's brass ensemble, which accompanied Mayor Tom Wierbowski as he sang the National Anthem, Tioga County Commissioner Roger Bunn, a 23-year Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, gave the address. He also read the names of Tioga County residents who gave their lives in Korea, Vietnam and the War on Terror.
Those who fell in the most recent war were Ryan Ostrom, Jeremy Campbell, Tony Kriner and Michael Plank.
Bunn also read a poem written by Lewis Simpson in 1944, called "Carentan, O Carentan," recalling an ambush by German troops wearing "leopard suits" so they couldn't be seen. The Germans cut down American troops by aiming at their knees as they advanced across a field near Carentan, France.
He spoke of how the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day was born in 1966 after a group of schoolchildren were asked what Memorial Day meant. They responded, "the day the pools open."
"Memorial Day is more than the start of summer vacation. We gather together to remember those who gave their lives for us," Bunn said, noting that the one million total war dead does not include people such as his grandfather, who died from typhoid fever during his service.
Commander Dan Rieppel asked the audience to "renew their pledge to assist those we have left among us. The flag of our nation still flies over the land of the free."