Memorial Day Service salutes patriotism
HUGHESVILLE – Sun broke through for the first time over the three-day weekend at Pleasant Hill Cemetery on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021. Master Sgt. Mickey Maneval, US Air Force, retired, welcomed all on behalf of Glenn Sharrow American Post #35 of Hughesville.
Patriotism was the subject of the address by Doug Mellott, pastor at The Beacon, a United Methodist Church in Hughesville, and an Army veteran. Patriotism, he said, is defined as, “The quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.”
As part of the military, Mellott said, “I have lost loved ones in the theater of combat, as pastor, I have done many military services for veterans and I continue to be honored to do so. I have been part of recent deaths, as well as closure for families who had waited many years for their loved ones remains to be returned.”
Mellott’s personal belief is that, “God neither likes or desires war, but amid human ignorance, I believe that God’s wrath is given in many ways upon the unjust.” And also, “I believe God’s grace is shed upon those that stand up against the oppressor and to those that defend the persecuted. We worship a God that loves peace, yet sometimes peace comes at the cost of war. The war that is waged, is a war against evil and those that perpetrate war need to be dealt with promptly.”
“And in all things,” he continued, “I believe that when forgiveness is sought, it is given, and the blood is wiped clean from the avenger’s hands. War is not what any of us want, yet in a world full of evil, God will prevail one way or another.”
“Today,” he said, “was set aside for those true patriots that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave of their lives that our freedoms and the freedoms of individuals around the world would be secured. These are the ones that defended the greatest country on earth, the United States of America. These are the ones that helped others endure the same freedoms we hold so dear.”
In thoughtful comment, the speaker said, “Patriotism however also involves those left behind. Those that stand here today and know of a veteran that lies in this ground. Over the years I believe we have all seen a decline in patriotism, yet today we come to honor those that lay in this cemetery and cemeteries around the world that thought patriotism was important enough to serve this country with such devotion and vigorous support that they gave of their lives to do so.”
The pastor quoted Biblical scripture which says, “We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. I’m here today through the blood of someone’s loved one and the unselfish acts of others that I have the opportunity to practice my faith openly in the USA.”
In contrast, the pastor said, “Around the world, it’s not the same and many Christian’s die each day for simply saying in the public sector, the name of Jesus. Look at the graves where flags fly proudly, a symbol of our great country.”
ADDITIONAL PROGRAM EVENTS
Each year, the legion awards outstanding students of the eighth grade. This year they were Keagan Smith, son of Shelley and Kevin Smith of Hughesville, outstanding boy; and Reese Kirk, daughter of Rachel and Quinn Kirk of Hughesville, selected as outstanding girl.
Directed by Joy Barto, a 15-voice community choir presented two songs, and under the direction of Alex Dwyer, the Hughesville High School Band gave selections, with Janice Savage playing taps.
Ralph Marks, the post’s Sergeant of Arms, placed the wreath, called the gun salute and retired the colors.