Slatington service honors veterans
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Capt. James Leaver, retired, spoke about the necessity of learning the stories the military personnel bring home from war. Behind him are Slatington Mayor Walter Niedermeyer, American Legion Memorial Committee President Dennis Ziegler and Pastor Laura Stone of United Presbyterian Church.
The parade sponsored by American Legion Allen O. Delke Post 16 wended its way slowly up the hill to the Union Cemetery, where the Memorial Day service would be held. There were more military vehicles, said Dennis Ziegler, president of the Memorial Day committee. Boy Scouts, Cubs and Girl Scouts, as well as members of the Post, marched with pride.
The Northern Lehigh High School Band opened the program with musical selections under the direction of David Carroll.
The invocation was given by Pastor Laura Stone of United Presbyterian Church.
Slatington Mayor Walter Niedermeyer said it was good to see so many young children. He asked for a minute of silence at 3 p.m. for the National Moment of Remembrance.
Ziegler said the Boy Scouts came into post 16 as a sponsored troop on Dec. 24, 1924, and have been there ever since.
He introduced speaker Capt. Jason Leaver, retired, who had come from Mount Vernon, Virginia. His served from 1981 to 2014, including commanding an F14 squadron and serving as warfare chief of staff for the Navy. He served on various realignment and closure boards.
Leaver said his military career began in the ROTC in 1974. He said this part of the country reminds him of where he grew up in the Midwest.
For some, Memorial Day only means the start of summer. He found it amazing that high schoolers were willing to play taps not only for Memorial Day but Veterans Day and at funerals.
Leaver said one thing our country does better than any other is to find and bring home its fallen.
It is the families that pay for your service every day, he said. Pay respect to the families. There are 2.6 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not easy for them to come home. Many say "Thank you for your service" but try to learn more from them. We hear about the most horrible things that happen to people.
"We honor those who God calls," he concluded with a reminder of the 3 p.m. remembrance.
The Quartet of Five, Gary Miller, Douglas Keichel, Brian Williams, Justin Maurer and Harrison Williams, with Anna Mary Milot on keyboard and Carol Miller on sound sang several numbers ending with the military anthems.
George Burke and Charles Rowlands placed a wreath on the grave of Allen O. Delke, who was killed in France on Nov. 2, 1918, shortly before World War I ended.
Ziegler read a eulogy that ended, "Do not stand on my grave and cry. I am not there."