Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exeter Remembers on Memorial Day

The Exeter Cemetary was buzzing Monday as many gathered to remember. Locals and visitors with ties to Exeter gathered to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, their own lives.

The Exeter American Legion Post 218 hosted the ceremony, posting the colors and offering a 21 gun salute.

Bob Dumpert served as master of ceremonies for the event, while Father Tom Kuffel offered the invocation. Tina Kassik read the Gettysburg Address and Mackenzie Thomsen read In Flander's Field.

The Exeter-Milligan band played The Star Spangled Banner, America and Salute to America's Finest.

Tim Wilbeck, also a Legion member, shared some thoughts on Memorial Day. He began his thoughts with asking the crowd if they felt patriotic and asked "When did you first get that feeling?"

He prompted the crowd to try to remember when they first felt pride when seeing a flag flown, or learning the pledge of allegiance.

He reminded the listeners that in the words of Abraham Lincoln "there is an inadequacy of words" to thank those who have lost their life in service to our country. They truely have "embodied the spirit of united we stand," said Wilbeck.

Of the lives lost in World War I, Wilbeck reminded the crowd that five million lost their lives thinking it was the war to end all wars. During World War II, 16 million lost their lives serving their country.

Wilbeck reminded the crowd that our world again has changed. The post 9/11 world is far different than it was before that fateful day. "Our oceans no longer protect us as we thought they would," said Wilbeck.

Our troops are on a mission. "The call to freedom came and they answered. . .resolved to carry out a mission. It will be won by ordinary Americans making extraordinary sacrifices," said Wilbeck.

The American Legion preamble reminds "to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars;" and Wilbeck emphasized the two areas we need to hold on to, pride and purpose. "Let us never forget," said Wilbeck.

He then related the story of Lee Marvin and his service in World War II and how, even though he was an actor he served in the front lines and was awarded a Navy Cross.

After the service, the crowd was invited back to the Legion Home for rolls and coffee provided and serviced by the American Legion Auxiliary.

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