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Mont Alto honors its veterans

November 13, 2000|By STACEY DANZUSO, Chambersburg

Mont Alto honors its veterans



MONT ALTO, Pa. - People from all generations gathered at the World War memorial in Mont Alto Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to the legions of veterans who have served the country.

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About 50 people, including an Honor Guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1599 in Chambersburg, attended the second annual ceremony hosted by the town.

Councilman Doug Duffey, who organized the event, pointed out that while the memorial had been shot by a paintball gun last week, "It's still standing like all of you veterans."

Retired Adm. William Smith, of Mont Alto, gave a brief history of Veterans' Day to the children, adults and veterans in the crowd.

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The holiday was first celebrated Nov. 11, 1918, as Armistice Day to honor all veterans at the end of World War I.

"It was supposed to be the world to end all wars," Smith said.

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the holiday's name to Veterans' Day.

"We have had veterans for 225 years, ever since the Battle of Lexington," Smith said . "They have been our national guardians of duty, integrity and freedom of life.

"There is a long, great tradition of service in this community," he said, noting the dozens of graves of veterans in the nearby Rose Hill Cemetery.

Smith said Veterans' Day is important to continue to honor those who have risked their lives in the armed forces.

"Support from the country is the key ingredient servicemen have to have," he said. "They have to know what they are doing is appreciated."

Russ Bender, captain of the Honor Guard, also noted the importance of the American flag.

"It is our symbol of freedom. Freedom can not truly be appreciated unless you never had it, you had it and lost it, or you fought for it," Bender said.

Duffey left the crowd with the final thought, "Just remember veterans and all of the freedoms we have today."

Veterans said they appreciated the ceremony but are disappointed by an apparent dwindling interest in veterans.

"People just don't show much enthusiasm for this type of thing," said Buck Bumbaugh, 69, a Korean War veteran. "I guess it has something to do with the fact we like to forget about war."

Charles McKenna, 55, a Vietnam War veteran, agreed interest is waning, but he said after only recently learning about the memorial and the ceremony, he will continue to come every year.

The World War Memorial was dedicated last year in Mont Alto's Recreational Area on Constitution Avenue.

It is dedicated to all honor "all of those who have made the supreme sacrifice, those who have served in or are presently serving in and those who may be called to serve in the future for our community, our state and our nation."

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