Allen O. Delke Post 16 American Legion of Slatington completed its annual tour of local cemeteries on May 27 and 28. The Sunday programs were scheduled so that, where possible, church services would be concluded when the Legion arrived allowing members to attend the service.
The tour began at Williamstown, a small cemetery outside of Slatington, and moved on to Jacksonville, Lynn Township.
Dennis Ziegler, president of the Memorial Day committee, a position he held for seven years, said at Jacob's Church that our veterans served in our most difficult eras. Again our nation has gathered to honor our dead.
Color guards of Sons of the American Legion and also of Legionaires headed the line of Legion members. During the salute the Legion and Sons of the American Legion flags were lowered.
A rifle squad, with orders given by Legion Commander Gordon Giannotti, fired an 18-gun salute.
Up the road across from Ebenezer Church in New Tripoli Ziegler said the veterans' "made their breasts a barricade. No horror of the field, the sea or air could beat them down."
At each stop "Taps" played by Marc Beleno of Northern Lehigh High School concluded the service. On Sunday it was played facing in one direction and then Beleno turned and played facing the opposite way.
The Sons of the American Legion color guard consisted of Brian Roberts carrying the United States flag and Bruce Roberts carrying the Sons flag. Karen Huoings carried the United States flag and Mark Queen carried the Legion flag for the Legion color guard.
At Heidelberg Church the commands "Attention" followed by "Parade rest" were given and the program was turned over to the Rev. Karen Yonney. She thanked "everyone in the Legion. Today when we remember our fallen comrades, the youth of the church have a program."
Robert Seigfried, Hannah Googh and Danica Andrews read "How do you Spell Soldier." "S is for the sacrifice of the family they left behind. O is for the oceans that separate them from home. L is for the loss of limbs, lives and loved ones. D is for the way they defended our country. I is for the images that will be forever in their minds. E is for the environmental challenges they endure. R is for their return home - sometimes to a hero welcome and sometimes to nothing at all. No matter what the letters are it will always spell HERO. God bless all our soldiers."
Ziegler said "Because of them our lives are free. Because of them our nation lives. With one accord and deepest reverence we do them honor."
A moment of silence is held before the firing squad gives its salute.
Following the service, Yonney said, "What wonderful men and dedication to pass on to our children."
At Neffs Union Lutheran Church Ziegler said, "Under the quiet sod and beneath the murmuring waves their bodies lie in peace."
"Let us stand with bowed heads and heroic memories of our dead," said Ziegler before the moment of silence leading to the salute at the Seventh Street Cemetery.
Donald Leikel, Bernie Dugan, Bob Churetta, Frank Roth, David Altrichter and James Gourniak were members of the firing squad.
"Let us not remember them with anguish. They would not want our pity," Ziegler said.
At Fairview Cemetery Ziegler reminded everyone that "they fought for us, for us they fell. Let us not forget the loved ones left behind."
Following the service at Friedens United Church of Christ, the Rev. Lunnett Hilliard gave a Memorial Day prayer: "We come to You with thanks for our freedom, for our peace, for our prosperity and security. On this Memorial Day weekend we thank you especially for all who gave of themselves in times of war to help to ensure the blessings that we enjoy. Their names, their faces and even their stories become dim to us, but still we come to honor them, their courage, their sacrifice, their willingness to put themselves in harm's way for a better cause. May we never forget."
At the Presbyterian Church Ziegler said "we should honor the values bestowed on us of loyalty, respect, brotherhood, honor, trust. For their sakes also, let us not forget the loved ones left behind.
Legion member Charles Rowlands presented small flags to the children who attended. It is a job he enjoys and has done for years.
Monday there was a parade and service at Union Cemetery, Slatington.