ADENA - Gary DeNoble completed his 10th and last year as commander of the Adena American Legion Post 525 at the Memorial Day services despite the drizzle that started after the parade and lasted throughout the program.
Umbrellas went up and hoodies were pulled close to the body to keep dry, but everyone stayed throughout Sgt./Evangelist Jack Ernest's special talk.
"I have stood in worse than this," Roger Sliva, past American Legion commander and school program planner, said about standing in the rain throughout the event.
WAITING TO SPEAK — Sgt./Evangelist Jack Ernest waited his turn on the speaker platform at the Adena American Legion Post 525 Memorial Day program held Monday during a drizzle that lasted the entire service. - Esther McCoy
Last year's Buckeye Girls and Boys State delegates were on hand.
Ernest started by saying,"It's a beautiful day," but he said he believes that any day spent in Adena is like a special step back to the hometowns of the past, where children carry flags and sing the national anthem.
"It was 145 years ago that Americans gathered together to honor fallen heroes on a day called Decoration Day," Ernest said. "We need to teach our children and grandchildren the price to be paid to be here and free today. We can't afford to lose the love or our country. We are under attack right now. Some countries don't like Americans but then there are others risking their lives to get to the shores of America. There is no freedom without the shedding of a soldier's blood. The red in the flag designates those willing to give their lives for our freedom and this still applies today," he said.
"Are you proud to be an American? Are you proud to say that we are Americans?" he asked and received many nods.
Ernest became a Marine in 1965, went to Vietnam from 1966-67, learned the Vietnamese language, was a squad leader, radio man, interpreter, and in 1967, was wounded in hand-to-hand combat. He is the recipient of many military medals of honor and has returned to Vietnam 44 times.
DeNoble started the program with introductions, and Mayor James Horton gave the welcome.
Libby Fulton, auxiliary president, gave the poppy report, saying $1,251.50 was collected from poppies sold in the village.
Frank Nameth of the Sons of the Legion talked about the May 5, 1868, Decoration Day that was originally for the Civil War soldiers - a celebration of those who preserved our nation by keeping it free. There were 25,000 from the Revolutionary War to die in battle, 600,000 in the Civil War, 400,000 in World War II and scores of others in the Vietnam, Korean and Iraq wars.
"The American flag is a symbol of freedom and sacrifice, so the flag can stand tall. With those who defended the flag, their commitment will never be forgotten," Nameth said.
Girls State delegates from 2012, Rebecca Rector, Carissa Koleski and Kayla Fillipovich, and Boys State delegates Trevor Sebring and Boyd Walker told of their experiences at the government-related week and thanked the Legion for sending them.
Joann Black and Chris Thompson gave the roll call of those killed in action, and a poppy was inserted in a cross for each name called.
Valarie Zamski sang the national anthem, and Monsignor John Kolsear gave the benediction.