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Service gives some peace

May 29, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - The few people traveling along Washington Street Sunday couldn't help but pause to watch more than 100 people standing on the sidewalk singing "God Bless America."

They were gathered outside Washington County Circuit Court to honor Americans killed during military service during the annual Memorial Day ceremony hosted by Morris Frock American Legion Post 42.

About 30 wreaths were placed in front of a memorial during the event.

"Today we pay tribute to those who died," said Ruthanna Ungvarsky, adjutant for Post 42.

Pam Troncatti, first vice president of the Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 Ladies Auxiliary, said her uncle was killed in World War II.

"His name is on the memorial," she said. "So, I'm honoring everyone, him and my two children."

Troncatti's daughter is in the U.S. Navy and her son is in the Marine Corps, she said.

"So, remembering them today is very important, as well as throughout the year," she said. "My flags fly all the time."

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Troncatti, of Williamsport, said she agreed with guest speaker Orlyn C. Oestereich's statement that the American flag should be respected. Oestereich, of Boonsboro, is American Legion Department of Maryland sergeant-at-arms and a retired colonel.

He said the flag should be respected and the freedom to burn the flag should be repealed. Oestereich said he supports a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

"Some do not show respect for the flag," he said.

He also is a member of Clopper-Michael American Legion Post 10 in Boonsboro.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Councilman Lewis C. Metzner attended the Memorial Day service and placed a wreath by the memorial.

Bruchey also spoke during the event, primarily about the merits of the United States' current battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If we had a president who used genocide, we'd want someone to come save us, too," he said. "(We're there) to bring freedom to a country where there was none."

Nancy Wishard, of Hagers-town, attended the service in honor of her late husband, who was a military veteran.

"Out of respect for him, I attend this," she said. "It gives me a peace."

Wishard's great-nephew, Justin Moore, 15, of Williamsport, also was at the service, and said he enjoyed listening to the music and the speakers.

"Everyone should pay respect to our veterans," Wishard said. "I think you can take an hour out of your day to do this."

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