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War sacrifices symbolized by a pair of worn combat boots

May 31, 2003|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Preston Law placed a pair of worn combat boots under a flagpole bearing the American flag at Smithsburg's Veterans Park.

He wondered, with others in the crowd of about 50 people who attended the Smithsburg Memorial Day Commemoration on Friday, whether the World War II combat boots he had picked up at an antique show were worn by someone who had died in action, a female soldier or someone who had made it home from the war alive.

"This much we do know," Law, of the Smithsburg Historical Society, said. "Someone pulled these boots on, laced them up ... never knowing if they'd be back. They did that so you and I might stand here in freedom."

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Master of ceremonies Charles Slick said the annual town event was an opportunity to remember and thank former and current service men and women and those who have given their "last full measure" of devotion.

Of the 122 students from Smithsburg High School who served in World War II, three died in action, Slick said.

Richard Masters, who had served in World War II in the U.S. Navy, said 1,100 veterans of that war die every day.

He shared his memories of the war with the crowd so others might relate the stories in future generations.

Those who weren't in the military endured gas and sugar rationing at home and those who fought did so bravely while not knowing whether they'd return home alive, he said.

"Our stories become your stories ..." said Masters, who joined the military when he turned 18.

He said the veterans who survived the war made a promise to give "every effort to make sure that peace is a gift that all generations know."

"May we always remember what they have done at the far-flown places around the world," said the Rev. John Schildt, pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church.

The Memorial Day service was sponsored by the Smithsburg Town Council and the Smithsburg Area Church Association.

AMVETS Post 14 from Cascade presented the town with a new prisoner of war flag, and the AMVETS Post 10 Color Guard from Hagerstown presented the colors.

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