‘They paid the price’
MUNCY – Memorial Day is a time created to honor those who made the “ultimate sacrifice” for our country. Dedicated guest speaker at Muncy’s Memorial Day Service, Lieutenant Samuel Shively who is retired from the US Navy reminded the public how important this holiday really is. Reflecting on the past while looking across the tombstones of those adorned with many flags, Shively expressed how he remembers those who served and made “the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.”
Lt. Shively said it was an honor to be there and reminded the crowd to acknowledge the family names in the cemetery and the veterans who served since the Civil War. He told a story about a “fever of patriotism” that ran in 1943 when seven men conspired to fight in the war, graduate from high school and then go on with their lives. “This entire generation put their life on hold,” said Lt. Shively, “And the numbers are dwindling fast.” One of the 7 men, a gunners mate in the Navy, was wounded and killed in battle when the ship was attacked. He proceeded to say, “All but one of the 7 soldiers returned to their home town, except one who was killed in sacrifice. That gunners mate was my father.”
Now living in Clinton Township, the retired Navy veteran further explained how many returning veterans of war come with not only visible wounds, but “unseen wounds.” Often the effects of war can lead to depression, drug abuse or other turmoils and self inflictions. “This is a real sacrifice that will affect them the rest of their life.” Many suffer from the feeling of abandonment or survivor’s guilt if someone close to them loses a life, and they don’t. Coping skills after the destruction of war can be difficult. “There is a lot of suffering from what they saw. They paid the price.”
A reminder was given that we should honor all who have given us the freedom to enjoy our lives today. “We have the freedom and the right to disagree. It is the soldier, not the reporter or the poet that gives us the freedom of speech,” concluded Lt. Shively. “For he is the one who comes home in a flag draped coffin. That is why we celebrate Memorial Day today.”
The ceremony ended with a formal salute by the Combined Muncy Veterans Rifle Squad, and a Benediction from Pastor John D. Klim. It was suggested to make contributions to organizations that support veterans such as the Wounded Warrior Project, VFW, and the American Legion.