Lawrence It was a morning of remembrance and mourning, but also celebration, at two local cemeteries to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday.
At Oak Hill Cemetery, 1605 Oak Hill Ave., The American Legion was host to its annual ceremony honoring past and current soldiers. It featured a two-bell ceremony in remembrance of local veterans who died in the last year. A bell was rung twice after each fallen soldier’s name was read.
Major George Coleman, U.S. Army, spoke at the event and stressed the importance of not just mourning those lost, but celebrating their lives as well.
“‘It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived,’” said Coleman, quoting General George S. Patton.
“To that, I say, rejoice,” Coleman added.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars had a ceremony of its own about a half-hour later, just a block south at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1517 E. 15th St. The VFW administered a 21-gun salute to honor those lost in battle.
Dan Parker, a sergeant in the Marine Corps during his 2003 and 2004 tours in Iraq, was a rifleman in the salute.
“They gave the greatest sacrifice of all. They gave all of their tomorrows for our today, so we have to take that day and make the best out of it that we can.”