A young but wise voice on Sunday called for the nation to keep alive the memories of those who left the comfort and security of home to defend America from those who threaten our freedoms.
"From the American Revolution, to the Afghan and Iraq wars, the United States has lost 1,343,812 of the finest men and women the world will ever know in the line of duty," said Aric Shubeck, the main speaker for Coaldale's Memorial Day services, held at the Seek memorial and at the Veterans Memorial Garden on Third Street.
"It is essential that we, as a society, are able to keep their memory alive for generations to come," he said.
Shubeck, the son of Mike and Jacki Shubeck of Summit Hill, a 2010 Panther Valley High School graduate and a psychology student at Shippensburg University, was the ceremonies' main speaker.
America must teach her young people to respect those who serve in the military, to honor their sacrifices and to understand the benefits of community service in order to reverse the current societal fragmentation and economic woes of our country.
"Now, more than ever, we must call upon the spirit of the fallen to assist us: From them, we need to learn how to work together as a nation, putting aside our own petty attitudes and problems so that we can save the country that they fought so hard for. This is our debt, our responsibility to the memory of those who gave their lives so that we remain free," Shubeck said.
"It is of the utmost importance that each of us, as individuals, work to rebuild our nation as one that is, once again, the envy of the entire world. We cannot fail them," he said.
He cited the importance of teaching children the seven values of the U.S. Army: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.
A highlight of the Seek ceremony was the presentation by Rose Hutta Valent of a handsome park bench she has donated in memory of the late Millie Matrician, who had faithfully cared for the memorial area until her recent death.
Matrician was Valent's first cousin and the daughter of Steve Tomasovich and his wife, Mary Molick, the memorial's first caretakers. The memorial was created in 1946.
"This was a labor of love to respect and honor the veterans of this community who fought for and lost their lives for this country," Valent said.
Today, Janet and Rolland Marshall care for the memorial.
Valent is also a first cousin of U.S. Air Force veteran Nick Paraschak, who reads the names of deceased veterans at each Memorial Day ceremony in the borough.
Sunday's ceremonies, dedicated to the late Jake Maruschak, included William Gaddes, S/Sgt USAF (Ret.), as master of ceremonies. Maruschak served as treasurer of the Coaldale World War II Committee, which built the Veterans Memorial Garden. Maruschak's grant-writing skills helped fund the projects.
Mayor Richard Corkery offered remarks, calling for the nation to honor those who "died defending a way of life the believed was worth dying for."
The Rev. Wayne Benack, pastor of First Congregational Church offered the invocation at the Seek ceremony while the Rev. Daniel Matthewson, past