Lansford honors fallen heroes with parade and service
SHERI RYAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Standing in front of the memorial at St. Nicholas Church are from left Nathan Krajcirik, Noreen Hine, Dennis McHugh, Jimmy Rickert, Tim Midas, Dave Padora and George Tessitore.
Members of the Lansford American Legion Post 123 and the Lansford AMVETS along with the Panther Valley JROTC honored the brave servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for our nation during the annual Memorial Day parade and service.
The parade began at St. Katherine Drexel Roman Catholic Church and moved through town stopping at the Abbott Street Memorial, the AMVETS, the American Legion, St. Nicholas Church and concluding at Kennedy Park. At each location, wreaths were placed and a salute was rendered by the United Veterans Organization and the JROTC firing squad.
Richard D. Pogwist, past commander of the American Legion Post 123 and this year's master of ceremonies, yielded the podium to two young Lansford veterans, George Tessitore, USMC and Nathan Krajcirik, USAF.
Tessitore spoke about the importance of Memorial Day and remembering the fallen and quoted part of a speech made by James A. Garfield on the first national memorial observance (then known as Decoration Day) in 1868.
"They summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue."
Tessitore then read the names of 17 fallen brethren who served with him in Afghanistan and then asked for a moment of silence to remember them along with all of the past generations of servicemen and women.
Kracirik first spoke on how much patriotism has faded and how we live "in a different time," noting that there were not as many flags flying in the town. He said that Memorial Day is a day "set aside for honoring our fallen service members, which should be of the utmost importance to every American." He then went on to quote General George Patton saying, "It is foolish to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
General Logan's Order was read by JROTC member Ashlee Miller and Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" was read by Amber Guzman. Courtney Lazar read the poem "In Flander's Field."
James Rickert, chaplain of the AMVETS read the roll call of deceased veterans since Memorial Day 2011. Those individuals were: William A. DeFebbo, Edward Harvan, Fred J. Klementovic, Pauline E. Oriel (Kruzik), Daniel J. Mundy, Joseph P. Radocha, Robert Milton Rausch, Alex Shereba and Matthew C. Zedalis.
The invocation and benediction was given by Ernie Kerestes, chaplain of Post 123.
The American Legion Riders, Sons of the American Legion, Sons of AMVETS and members of Lansford Little League also marched in the parade.