Vets reflect on wars

November 12, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Former armed forces members gathered Tuesday morning in Hagerstown for a solemn ceremony to commemorate their fallen comrades, but they also used the occasion to reflect on current events.

About 60 people gathered to celebrate Veterans Day in front of the Washington County Circuit Court building, where members of more than two dozen local service organizations laid wreaths at the war memorial on West Washington Street near its intersection with Summit Avenue.

Glenn Trumpower, 68, of Falling Waters, W.Va., was one of the men who laid a wreath at the memorial.

Trumpower said he was among seven brothers and sisters who served in the armed forces, spending 20 years in the Navy.


"I am a veteran. I bleed red, white and blue," Trumpower said. "Where my president sent me, I went."

He said the fighting in Iraq was not far from the top of his thoughts this Veterans Day.

"We had to stop him (Saddam Hussein) there, or we would have had more 9/11's," Trumpower said.

South Hagerstown High School students played "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Taps," and those who attended the ceremony joined in the singing of "God Bless America." The event was coordinated by Morris Frock American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 42.

Greater Hagerstown Committee Executive Director Arthur Callaham spoke at the event, saying "Veterans deserve all the respect and all the praise from this great nation. ... You can be proud to be counted among the brave." He said friends "will always remember you for the duty that you gave to your country."

Tony Dattilio, 70, of Hagerstown, said after the ceremony that the events brought back memories from his service during the Korean War.

"It brings back the pleasant memories, it brings back the unfortunate memories," he said. But nevertheless, "if you don't tell your children that, it's going to die. ... It's something that should not be forgotten."

Julius Light, 76, of Hagerstown, one of the wreath-layers for Morris Frock American Legion Unit No. 42, said he received his notice of induction into the Army the day he graduated from high school.

Light said he served in World War II in Germany and saw many of the effects of war on people, as well as the loss of liberty in other countries.

"I think if people had to go through this one time, they would realize how great we have it in this country," Light said. "When I look at my children and my grandchildren, I think about how safe we have it."

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