Salem Cemetery honors fallen soldiers
A Flag Ceremony was held at the Salem Cemetery on May 19 to honor the 112 soldiers buried on the grounds.
Boy Scout Troop 311 joined the ceremony, and helped place flags on each of their graves. As the ceremony began, Jim Templeton, music minister of Mt. Zion Baptist Church touched the crowd with his music, and Kinsey Kelly showed her patriotism by singing our National Anthem. There was a time of reflection and honor to the fallen soldiers as Mr. George Leuba echoed the solemn sound of taps throughout the cemetery.
Chaplain Major Gary L. O’Day, dressed in his military uniform, spoke to the crowd with his profound words of remembrance.
“As I walked through the Salem Cemetery observing the markers dedicated to service members, I came to one that gave me pause to reflect,” said O’Day. “The soldier was born in 1946 and died in 1966. I thought he must have died in Vietnam. He was just 20 years of age. I was also born in 1946 and had joined the Air Force in 1966. My thoughts turned to his sacrifice as an American Airman, to what he had missed in the unfolding 51 years I experienced. Little did I know that his brother would be in the audience. Jud Kennedy’s sacrifice is enormous, as is that of his family, for it continues through every family event.”
O’Day said his mind turned to the last scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, where the former private, now an older man, stands before the marker of the officer that led the effort to remove him from the World War II battlefield. Reflecting, he hopes that he has led a life worthy of such a sacrifice.
“Memorial Day affords us all a moment to make the same journey and to reflect if we have lived our lives worthy of the sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guard members. Perhaps,” he said. “We all could find ways to do better.”
Donna Simmons, along with other members of the Salem Cemetery Association said they greatly appreciate those that joined the ceremony and for the donations received that are much needed to ensure ongoing care and protection of the loved ones final resting place at Salem Cemetery.