MINGO JUNCTION - State Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, told about 100 people at Memorial Day services Monday that Americans need to remember the service men and women gave in defending freedom when they drive by the numerous military monuments in our area.
Cera said Memorial Day to many is a day off work.
"It is more than that. It is a time to remember those that died for our country," he said.
GUN SALUTE — Members of American Legion Posts 351, Mingo Junction, and 573, Brilliant, performed the traditional 21-gun salute Monday during Memorial Day services in Mingo Junction. State Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, was the guest speaker. - Mark Law
The area has many memorials and highways named for local residents who went off to war, only not to return, he said.
"We sent our sons and daughters off to war many times in our history" Cera said.
He spoke of Sylvester Antolak of St. Clairsville, who received the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice during World War II. Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, Army Sgt. Antolak, at age 27 in May 1944, charged 200 yards across a flat field, while being shot three times by enemy fire, killed two Germans and took 10 prisoner in his capture of a machine gun. Even injured, Antolak continued on nearly 100 more yards toward another enemy strong point before he was killed by German gunfire.
Cera said Antolak's courage inspired his squad to overwhelm enemy troops on the Anzio beachhead.
Cera also said Americans should not forget the men and women missing in action during our country's wars.
"No family should be denied the honor of the return of loved ones," he said.
City Councilman John Fabian said the small village of Mingo Junction lost 42 men during World War II. Their pictures line the walls of the Municipal Building.
"For such a small community, we lost so many," he said.
Bob Smith, American Legion Post 351, Mingo Junction, read the names of village residents who lost their lives defending America's freedom.
"In Flanders Field" was recited by Barb Jackson, American Legion Post 351 Auxiliary president. The reply to "In Flanders Field" was provided by Harry Freiling of the American Legion.
Taps was played by village resident Rose Angelica.
Jackson and Don Zarych of the American Legion laid the wreaths at the veterans memorial on Commercial Avenue, and Spinning Jenny, a local band featuring the daughters of John and Dina Balzona of Mingo Junction, sang the national anthem and performed patriotic songs.
The Memorial Day service was organized by Sophie Schoolcraft of Mingo Junction Social Services.
A lunch was provided afterwards at the senior center.