“Memorial Day is when we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. Memorial Day is a reminder to all of us that there are those who serve when their nation calls,” said Ken Locke in opening today’s Memorial Day service at Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, Warsaw.
Due to rain, the service was moved inside the chapel where members of the community packed the room as they all came to honor veterans and present service men and women.
Locke told the crowd that one of the his favorite movies is Gladiator and recalled a conversation in that movie between Maximus and the Emperor on why soldiers do what they do. “Maximus: Five thousand of my men are out there in the freezing mud. Three thousand of them are bloodied and cleaved. Two thousand will never leave this place. I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing,” he quoted from the movie.
Locked added, “The light of liberty has called and continues to call young men and women to protect the freedoms we take for granted. Let me just encourage you today that, even though it seems that America is fading, there are Americans willing to protect that fragile dream in our armed forces today.”
Since the American Revolution, said Locke, almost 1.4 million Americans have died in battle. “Nearly 1.5 million Americans have been wounded in war since the American Revolution … One of the tragedies of this (latest) war is that it is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.”
Locke ended his address noting, “Freedom is not free … What light is to the eyes, what air is to the lungs, what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man.”
Roll call of deceased veterans of Post 49 was read by Mike Davis and included the following names: John H. Anglin Jr., John W. Anglin, William B. Bibler, Russell T. Biggs, Darlene R. Carlile, Charles L. Carnes, Jane Chinworth, Thomas Devero, Theodore M. Gall, Leslie T. Gore, Lew Goshert, John Gunter, John W. Harman, Floyd P. Horn, Jerry C. Hudson, Dale D. Kindig, Edward B. Kinsey, Cecil J. Latta, Jacob D. McClone, William L. Mathes, James Miner, Warren C. Murphy, Earl T. Records, Gladys M. Reece, James E. Reeve, Robert D. Schrader, Don E. Smythe, Benny R. Stage, Louis W. Sweeney and Warren H. Tatter.
Roll call of deceased veterans of VFW Post 1126 was read by Larry Criswell and included the following names: James R. Smith, U.S. Army WWII; Benny R. Stage Jr., U.S. Marines, Korea; Floyd P. Mike Hogan, U.S. Army, Korea; Milo Eugene Lindzy, U.S. Navy, Korea; Michael P. Fitzgerald, U.S. Army, Vietnam; Richard J. Dick Harmon, U.S. Army, Vietnam; William R. Neal, U.S. Army, Vietnam; Robert L. Perkins, U.S. Army, Korea; John Homer Mason, U.S. Army, Korea and Vietnam; Russell T. Biggs, U.S. Army, WWII; David G. Bubbles Perrin, U.S. Army, Korea; William E. Shepherd, U.S. Army, Vietnam; Homer W. Campbell, U.S. Navy, WWII; James C. Charlie Edwards, U.S. Army, Korea; Todd Allen Watkins, U.S. Marines, Desert Storm; Roland L. Sprong, U.S. Army, WWII; Eldon D. Leedy, U.S. Army, WWII; and Harold A. Ross, U.S. Navy, Korea.