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Military service fills generation gap

November 12, 2005|By DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

Lee U. Michael Sr. was a gunner with the U.S. Army in New Guinea during the closing days of World War II.

Michael Harrigan was an infantryman with the U.S. Marines in the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The two men, from different wars and generations, stood united Friday morning as they paid homage to the nation's veterans. Neither man spoke during the solemn Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway.

Neither needed to.

"I just want to thank all of you veterans for your service," keynote speaker James A. Adkins, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, said during the ceremony held by the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.

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"Today, we can see how this unbroken line of patriots continues the work of heroes of the past," Adkins said. "Through every conflict, in every era, there have been those that have battled tyrannies of every kind."

Michael's thoughts during the ceremony drifted to his three brothers, who also served in World War II and have since passed on. A Williamsport resident who went through basic training at Fort Bliss in Texas, Michael married wife Frances while stationed in California and then shipped out to serve six months overseas.

"It means a lot," said Michael, 2nd vice commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Maryland Chapter 14. "I had three brothers, all of us, all four of us, served at the same time."

Harrigan, a Myersville, Md., native who now lives in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., served in the Marine Corps from October 2000 to October 2004, attached to Co. B, 5th LAR Battalion. Starting in February 2003 he served six months in Iraq.

"Honoring the sacrifice of, first and foremost, the veterans that didn't come home (is what the day means to me)," Harrigan said.

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