Area residents celebrate Memorial Day

May 27, 1997


Staff Writer

Memorial Day services were held rain and shine in Washington County over the holiday weekend as veterans, their families and other patriots gathered to remember.

Jean Wolfe came to the Monday morning service at Rose Hill Cemetery to honor her husband, the late Irvin "Leon'' Wolfe, a World War II veteran who died last September.

"It's to keep his memory alive and those of other veterans,'' Wolfe said as she enjoyed the mild spring sunshine that poked out from behind storm clouds.


Wolfe enountered Opal Tenney, who lost her husband, Robert, in September 1995. He was also a World War II veteran.

"I thought I would come over for the service,'' Tenney said. "I'm here out of respect.''

The keynote speaker Monday was Ray Linebaugh, president of the Joint Veterans Council, who said the scene was much different Sunday afternoon at the rain-soaked ceremony at the Washington County Courthouse.

"I wasn't going to go,'' Linebaugh said. "But I remembered that I was wet nine months of the year I was in Vietnam, so I figured, what's a little rain?''

At that soggy ceremony Sunday, there was a speaker but no performance by the Hagerstown Municipal Band because of the rain.

American Legion Past National Commander Clarence Bacon spoke of the need to keep patriotism alive in the U.S.

One way, Bacon said, would be to support a June 9 vote in the House of Representatives on a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw the burning of the U.S. flag.

"This day is a very special day for all Americans,'' Bacon said. "We honor the heroes who changed the face of the earth, its people and its countries.''

In between the raindrops, representatives brought wreaths forward to place at the war memorial on the Washington Street side of the courthouse.

"We honor the husbands and the wives, the sons and the daughters who have given their lives for our freedom,'' said Ruth Ungvarsky, adjutant of the Morris Frock Post No. 42.

Among the organizations laying wreaths were groups that recognize veterans of the Spanish-American War, both world wars, the Vietnam and Korean wars, Pearl Harbor Survivors Club, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 14, AmVets Post 10 and auxiliary, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks 378, Eagles Aerie 694, Voiture 651, 40 et 8, Veterans of Foreign Wars William D. Byron Post 1936, life members and auxiliary, Order of the Cooties, American Legion posts, women veterans of all wars, Bester School Brownie Troop 245, Miss Poppy Unit 42 and Morris Frock Post No. 42.

The Morris Frock honor guard and color guard provided a 21-gun salute and flags, respectively, for the program.

Monday, the clouds had parted in time for Linebaugh's speech to about a dozen or so interested persons who gathered at the Rose Hill Cemetery.

"Our military has provided a bastion against our enemies for 220 years,'' Linebaugh said. "A lot has changed from Valley Forge to Desert Storm but not that.''

Soldiers fight because they believe war is sometimes necessary, not good, but necessary to keep our freedom, Linebaugh said.

"War is ugly but uglier is the unwillingness to fight for anything,'' he said.

Small American flags lined the roadways throughout the cemetery off South Potomac Street. Others dotted the graves of veterans, a gift of the Rose Hill management for all veterans buried in the cemetery.

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