Honor and pride on display at Lovettsville’s Memorial Day ceremony
© Virginia News GroupMemorial Day is a day to remember the men and women who have died serving in the United States Armed Forces, and it’s a reminder of the service and sacrifice of all who serve. Dozens of residents came to Lovettsville’s Veterans Memorial at the Town Square Monday morning to pay their respects and honor the servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The presentation of the colors was done by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard to the solemn backdrop of bagpipes performed by Deputy Sean McCarten.
The Lovettsville Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Lovettsville Elementary School Chorus performed the National Anthem.
“Each year we involve the Lovettsville Elementary chorus and as many of our local scouts as we can,” said Kimberly Allar, who put the day’s program together. “I think that is what makes the ceremonies so very special, the participation from our youth.”
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also handed out programs, flags and red poppies as people arrived and took their seats.
Pastor Lee Crosby from Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church gave a beautiful invocation. Then Lovettsville Mayor Bobby Zoldos welcomed the crowd and acknowledged all the Veterans in the audience.
Michelle Rancourt, a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, touched the crowd with a reading of In Flanders Fields, followed by a musical tribute from the Lovettsville Elementary School Chorus, "Thank You Soldiers."
The keynote speaker, retired Lt. Col. Jack Burden, U.S. Army, spoke of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. And in particular, those who have never been found or identified.
“Remember all those who have served our nation, in peace and in war,” Burden said. “And a special remembrance of those who are not yet accounted for. May God bless them, and all our military members. And may God bless America.”
Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) spoke to the crowd about his father, who was drafted in 1941 and fought in every major engagement that the 101st Airborne was in.
“Whenever people referred to him as a hero, he said, 'I’m not a hero. Those who didn’t come back, those are the heroes.’” he said. But Higgins called everyone who risks their life for our country a hero, not just those who don’t make it home.
The scouts brought the flag to half-staff and placed a wreath at its base. Bagpipes again pierced the solemn silence, this time Deputy McCarten performed "Amazing Grace." And just as emotions were at their highest, Jonathan Heinze of Woodgrove High School performed Taps.
Following Pastor Crosby’s Benediction, the ceremony closed with "God Bless America" performed by the Lovettsville Elementary School Chorus. The entire crowd joined in for the last chorus, and the little Town Square overflowed with pride and gratitude.
“We take the ceremonies that commemorate our country very seriously,” Mayor Zoldos said. “And so do our citizens.”