Services recall veterans' valor

November 12, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Sacrifice and freedom were on the minds of the more than 200 people who gathered in Chambersburg's Memorial Square Monday morning to honor U.S. veterans.

"This is a day of solemn remembrance as we consider what our veterans have given us," said the Rev. Bill Harter, keynote speaker at the Veterans Day event.

"World War I was supposed to be the war that ended all wars, but war never really stopped," he said.

"The 20th century saw more killing than any prior century. We hope and pray the 21st century will be different," Harter said.


Harter went on to say that life in many countries around the globe is freer and more productive because of the strife, but he said that it is not over and pointed to the United States' war on terrorism.

"We will be required to be relentless. We dare not be complacent," said Harter, pastor of Falling Spring Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg. "Our veterans have shown us how to do it."

Also during the ceremony, which began with a parade down Lincoln Way East, William Vandrew, Officer of the Day, focused on the meaning of the holiday.

"Veterans Day was named because peace unfortunately does not last forever. For 84 years, we've honored our defenders and recognized the contributions and sacrifices they made," Vandrew said.

"Millions of lives were forever altered because they donned a uniform," he said.

Allen E. Melius, commander of the Joint Veterans Council of the Chambersburg Area that sponsored the program, said turnout Monday was on par with previous years.

"It's important to tell all veterans they are appreciated," said Melius, a retired master sergeant who served 22 years in the Air Force.

Will Pananes, a Chambersburg resident who served two years in the Army, said he came to Monday's event to honor family and friends who served in the armed forces and see his children in the Chambersburg Area Senior High School band perform.

"Friends I know served in Vietnam and other conflicts. I want to be with them and honor them, knowing some of the difficult tasks they encountered," he said.

Area veterans and their families also turned out for a service Monday afternoon at the Letterkenny Chapel at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg.

The guest speaker was retired Army Chaplain Charles F. Kriete of Carlisle, Pa. He is a former commandant of the Army Chaplain School and also served on the faculty of the Army War College for seven years. He was the first chaplain to be awarded the secondary Military Occupation Specialty of Strategic Analyst, serving in that capacity in the Army Strategic Studies Institute.

The service was jointly sponsored by the United Churches of the Chambersburg Area and the Joint Veterans' Council of Chambersburg.

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