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Recalling their sacrifice

June 01, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

It started to rain just before 11 a.m., but still they came.

The traditional outdoor Memorial Day ceremony at Rest Haven Cemetery had to be moved indoors, but still they came.

There weren't enough seats for everyone, so some stood in the doorway.

But still they came.

They were veterans, their spouses, their children - many now grown - who were left behind when a parent went off to war.

They all came to the chapel at Rest Haven on Monday for a tribute to those who gave their all in service to their nation.

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"My husband, John Smith, turned 21 just four days before D-Day while he was serving in World War II," said Dorothy Smith of Leitersburg, who came to Monday's remembrance at Rest Haven.

A veteran of World War II, Smith served with the 8th Air Force 493rd Bomb Group and flew 35 missions as a tailgunner out of England.

Before he died in October 2002, the Smiths went to England twice to visit the places where Smith had fought during the war.

"The last time was on his 78th birthday in June 2001," his widow said.

Ruth Bovey was there to pray for the "kids" now fighting in Iraq. The widow of Korean War veteran Daniel Bovey, she said her husband was drafted but never went overseas. Still, he was a veteran so she came to honor his memory.

Following the traditional playing of the bagpipes by Richard Conrad, a moment of silence was observed before Pastor Steven McCullough of The Good Shepherd Ministries offered a prayer.

"We gather here with great reverence," McCullough said. "We pray for the safety of all our military personnel who are in harm's way overseas."

The Appalachian Wind Quintet performed a patriotic medley including "The Navy Hymn," "The Star Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful" and several John Philip Sousa marches.

The performance was sponsored by the Washington County Arts Council and the Music Performance Trust Fund. The members of the quintet are Barbara Spicher, Ed Stanley, Rick Mogensen, Scott Cassanda and Ed Schupp.

Rest Haven employee Jeremy Osteen read a Civil War letter written July 14, 1861, by a soldier to his wife in Rhode Island just before he went off to battle and was killed at Bull Run.

"I am willing to lay down my life for love of country," the soldier wrote while pledging his love to his wife, Sarah, and wishing he could be home with her watching their children play.

The soldier wrote of facing fear and death and separation from loved ones to preserve freedom, often in faraway places.

But still they came.

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