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Legacy must continue, colonel says

May 29, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - On what he called the "most important day of the year," U.S. Army Col. Monty Warner asked for veterans and others to pass on their legacy to the younger generation.

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"Freedom is not free. ... Our history is written in the blood ... (of) the more than 1 million patriots," said Warner, who spoke during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Berkeley County War Memorial Park in Martinsburg.

"We must pass on this legacy to the next generation," Warner said. "The legacy of human freedom. It's up to us to pass on that legacy."

"We have the veterans to thank for the freedom we have today," said Danny Staggers, ceremony announcer and a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post 14, in Martinsburg.

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About 100 people attended the Veterans Memorial 2000 ceremony Monday morning. The event was sponsored by the Martinsburg-based American Legion Post 14.

Rose Beitz of Martinsburg, whose brother served in World War II, came "to give these guys the credit they deserve for what they gave for us," she said.

Jim Clayton, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 869 in Martinsburg, said, "I'm honoring the veterans that went before me. Honoring the people that made it possible for me to be here."

Clayton, a veteran who served in Europe, the Far East and the U.S. from 1954 to 1984, echoed Warner's comments on the importance of relating the significance of the holiday to a new generation.

As the years go by, the number of veterans is dwindling, Clayton said.

"We're all getting old and somebody, the civilian population has got to think about (Memorial Day) and keep it going so that this day will be remembered for what it is," Clayton said.

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