Williamsport remembers debt to veterans

November 30, 1999|By TARA REILLY

WILLIAMSPORT ? A Veterans Day ceremony on Friday in Williamsport had its share of emotions.

Jane Reinmuth, a member of the Potomac American Legion Post 202 Auxiliary and organizer of the ceremony, shed tears as she thanked veterans for the country's freedom.

Western Maryland District Commander Curt Harshman's voice cracked as he remembered a military friend who died while on his way to Vietnam to search for the remains of missing U.S. soldiers.

Harshman said his friend felt he had a debt to pay to the fallen soldiers.

The mood was lightened by patriotic music by the Springfield Middle School band.

Gratitude for the service of veterans also was evident in the ceremony's speeches.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II said at the event at the post on South Conococheague Street.


McCleaf recognized veterans on behalf of the Williamsport Town Council.

Harshman said the country was blessed with armed forces that keep the country free.

While generations have changed, the desire of servicemen and woman to protect the U.S. has not, he said.

Harshman said they have and continue to put their lives on the line for a love of their country.

It's the duty of Americans "to never forget our veterans," Harshman said.

"Spend a little time in a VA center," he said. "Take just a second to thank a veteran."

Harshman asked that the "thanks" be more than just occasional.

"I'd like to ask that we honor our veterans every day, not just one day in November," Harshman said. "May God bless this great country and all of our veterans."

Veteran Maurice Snyder, a past commander of Post 202, hasn't forgotten those who served.

As Snyder flipped through an old scrapbook containing pictures, obituaries and other information of Williamsport-area World War II and Korean War veterans, he pointed to several men he knew and recalled their stories.

Some he graduated with, others died in combat and some were taken hostage or went missing, he said.

The scrapbook was put together by Elaine Cline, the mother of Williamsport Town Councilman Jeff Cline.

The remembrance included a wreath-laying ceremony, and the approximately 60 people who attended concluded the event by joining hands and singing "God Bless America."

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