Approximately 125 citizens turned out to observe Memorial Day here in St. Pauls during a short, solemn, moving ceremony at the War Memorial Monday morning.
The event, sponsored by American Legion Post #5 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #12025, was highlighted by the reading by members of the community of an original poem composed by Rob Gable for the occasion and remarks by Major Matthew Hash, currently Maj. Hash is assigned with the Assistant Chief of Staff G7 as an operations officer for 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He has served on three different deployments to Iraq accumulating 39 months of overseas service in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operations New Dawn. Maj. Hash’s first deployment was from 2003 to 2004 where he served as a Field Artillery Battery Commander. His second deployment was from 2007 to 2008 during the surge as a Brigade Combat Team Staff Member and his last deployment was with Untied States Forces- Iraq as a staff member from which he returned home in November.
Maj. Hash quoted from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and the Bible, but his personal remembrances of serving during war time, and losing comrades, especially touched those in attendance.
The ceremony began with John McCauley reading Red Skelton’s famous explanation of The Pledge of Allegiance, which he then led. The invocation was delivered by Rev. David Hodge of Calvary Cornerstone Holiness Church.
Robert Gable then spoke on the solemn commemoration of Memorial Day, which was followed by his poem, read by Duncan Mackie, Jesse Odom, SFC Joseph Chebatha, and Margaret Thomas and re-printed below.
Following Maj. Hash’s moving remarks, Rachel Crenshaw sang “God Bless America.”
Three wreaths were laid at the War Memorial, provided by the American Legion, the VFW and the Quartermaster’s Red Hat Chapter.
Tommy Belch led the audience in a moment of silent tribute to the fallen, and “Taps” was played, ending the ceremony. The Chamber of Commerce provided refreshments to those attending.
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE POEM
Poem by Robert Gable
They’re not here to mark this day, their end’s already come
They did their part, drew their last breath, someone’s daughter or son
Perhaps a dad or mom they were, as they marched off to war
Our prayer today is they now rest, in the arms or our heavenly Lord.
Don’t worry son, “I’ll see you soon,” was what his dad had said
But now the boy must be a man, something he truly dreads.
But what would his dad have him do, if he could tell him so
“Remember me; take care of mom, into a man you’ll grow”
“Don’t cry sis, I’ve got to go, my team depends on me
They’ll have my back, and I’ll have theirs, I’ll be okay you’ll see.”
It didn’t turn out as he had planned, an IED brought the end
But he had kept his solemn vow, his country to defend.
“I’ll call you dad, when we touch down, don’t you worry about me.
The months they all will quickly pass,” his daughter said, “you’ll see.”
But that’s not how it turns out for some, as the names will surely tell
Engraved in granite, for all to see, no longer here to dwell.
Once a year we stop and pause, to remember those who died
On battlefields, most far away, many tears we’ve cried.
We assemble and think of them, we all stop and pray
We are humbled as we remember them on this Memorial Day.