Bethlehem ceremony moves indoors
Though overcast skies drove Bethlehem’s annual Memorial Day Service indoors again this year, it was both a moving and spirited tribute to the men and women who have served the nation in the military and, in some cases, gave their lives for their country.
Ken Nichol, president of the United Veterans of Bethlehem, was master of ceremonies at the event, which was held in the Liberty HS gym. The opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance were followed by a rousing version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Mayor Robert Donchez then addressed the attendees urging them both to appreciate and never forget those who gave so much so that their countrymen could live in freedom.
Noting that 20 veterans take their own lives every day, Congressman Charlie Dent informed the audience that Congress and the Veterans Administration are committed to providing the help that veterans need with mental issues, such as PTSD. State
Representative Steve Samuelson, who served in the Armed Forces, recalled that, during his service in the military, President John F. Kennedy, whose PT Boat was cut in half, saw several of his comrades die but managed to save others.
Between the presentations, the audience was treated to spirited versions of patriotic music by the Freedom HS Grenadier Marching Band, the American Legion Band, and the Northeast MS Band.
In addition, there were recitations of well-known pieces by three students from St. Anne’s School. They
included the “Gettysburg Address,” by Robert Garda; “The Band of Brothers,” by Grace Boburka; “Heavens Doves,” by Armondo Perez; and “Flander’s Fields,” by Katherine Rompilla. In addition, there was the Laying of the Wreath by the Blue Star Mothers.
The American Legion Band concluded the program with a Rifle Salute and Taps.