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Audience reminded that 'freedom is never free'

May 24, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

Slideshow: Memorial Day in Washington County

HAGERSTOWN -- Sen. Donald F. Munson encouraged audience participation during the Memorial Day service at Cedar Lawn Memorial Park Sunday afternoon.

Between his remembrances, Munson, R-Washington, asked the crowd of about 70 people to repeat after him in saying "For freedom is never free."

"Thank you. This is getting better and better," said Munson, after encouraging the crowd to join in several times.

Attendees sat in chairs and stood just inside the entrance to the cemetery along West Washington Street as Munson reflected on the sacrifices veterans made so peace and freedom could prevail.

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Munson paid tribute to those who guided military planes and remembered the foxholes that became burial grounds.

Munson also recalled a "sudden chill" he felt once while thinking about the song taps.

"I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea," Munson said.

Munson also recited a poem about how it is not news reporters who are responsible for a free press or poets who guarantee free speech, but soldiers who made those and other freedoms possible.

Susan Hultsch, representing Otterbein United Methodist Church, offered a prayer at the beginning of the service. Hultsch's husband was a Vietnam War veteran who was buried in the cemetery a little more than a year ago, an event organizer said.

Hultsch remembered members of the military who came home after wars and dealt with the "ravages and cruelty" of the conflicts.

"We pray for an end to all wars," Hultsch said.

Jo Ann Plum offered the poem "As We Stand Here." Corin Gilks offered his rendition of taps on a horn and shots from a 21-gun salute echoed over the grounds of the cemetery.

Near the end of the ceremony, Charlotte Laystrom Yeager sang "America the Beautiful" while several clusters of red, white and blue balloons were released into the air.

After the service, people milled around in the cemetery, adjusting decorations on graves and pushing aside periodic tears.

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