Memorial Day ceremonies honor warriors' sacrifices

May 31, 1999

Rest Haven MemorialBy ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY and MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writers

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Hagerstown resident Lynden F. Moser bowed his head as the bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" wafted over the flags and flowers that dotted Rest Haven Cemetery on Monday.

His relatives have fought in battles dating back to the Revolutionary War, said Moser.

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"My buddy is buried on the hill over there," he said. "I've come to pay my respects."

About 150 people joined Moser at the Memorial Day ceremony at Rest Haven, which featured recitations of "In Flanders Field" and The Gettysburg Address, an emotional performance of "Echo Taps" and an Appalachian Wind Quartet musical program.

The Hagerstown event was one in a series of remembrance gatherings throughout the Tri-State area during the holiday weekend.

Joe Novak never misses the Memorial Day program at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Maj. Jeff Rieves was the guest speaker at this year's event, which was sponsored by VFW Post 896.


"I spent four years in the South Pacific during World War II, proudly doing my duty as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces," Novak, 75, said.

Accompanied by his wife, Sharon, the Martinsburg, W.Va., resident sat and watched others who came to the park for the swimming, the picnics, the volleyball games, miniature golf - and he wondered if they thought about the veterans and their sacrifices.

"People forget quickly," said Hagerstown resident Allen Ruth.

Ruth and his wife, Louise, stood with some 20 other people under a stand of firs between the Confederate Cemetery and a World War I memorial at Rose Hill Cemetery on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

U.S. Army veteran Bob Barthlow, 51, of Hagerstown, said more people should attend memorial events such as the ceremony at Rose Hill, which featured keynote speaker Jim Sprecher, president of the Joint Veteran's Council.

"It's a small token of appreciation for veterans who have fallen in defense of their country," Barthlow said.

American Legion Post 14 member Darlene Snow, who handed out flags and flowers to participants at the West Virginia event, agreed.

"It's getting harder and harder to get people to come to these things," Snow said.

Forrest Jordan, who served in the U.S. Army during the Cold War tensions of the 1960s, said he thinks people forget why the park is even there.

It is, after all, the War Memorial Park, he said.

Joe Kime and his wife, Gertrude, were honored as Gold Star parents because they lost a child during the Persian Gulf War.

"Attendance is a continuing problem," Kime, a member of VFW Post 3522 of Charles Town, W.Va., said.

Hagerstown resident Sherry Kline attended the Rose Hill ceremony with her father, Korean War veteran George Barnes.

It was the least she could do, Kline said.

"If it wasn't for the veterans, we wouldn't be here today," she said.

Our nation's strength was forged with the blood of more than 1 million U.S. soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom, said Charles S. Brown, owner of Rest Haven Cemetery.

World War II veteran Harold Elgin, 72, of Hagerstown, lost a cousin during that war. But it was thoughts of the ongoing war in Kosovo that Elgin said drew him to the Rest Haven ceremony.

"Our soldiers are still making sacrifices," he said.

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