Weirton remembers meaning behind Memorial Day | News, Sports, Jobs


PRESENTING A WREATH — Members of Cub Scout Pack 334 assist in presenting memorial wreaths as part of Monday’s Memorial Day observance in Weirton. Residents gathered at the Weirton Honor Roll monument to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives while defending the nation. — Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Weirton residents gathered at the Honor Roll Monument were reminded, Monday, of the importance of Memorial Day, and the reason for its observance.

The Rev. Rudy McAllister, pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church and a 34-year Air Force veteran, noted the number of those lost during military service over the last century, reminding the crowd Memorial Day is not about cookouts and discounts at retail outlets but about showing respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

It is a sacrifice, he said, everyone enlisting in the military understands is possible as part of their service.

“We all signed a blank check,” McAllister said. “That check was to give our lives at all costs.”

He recalled the speeches from commanding officers at the start of each deployment, wishing them well in their mission but knowing some wouldn’t make it home.

“There was no guarantee I would come back,” he said. “I understood this.”

He recalled a moment, while overseas and returning to his base, watching the cargo hold of a C-130 open and seeing nine steel coffins inside, draped with the nation’s flag, knowing the sacrifice made by those individuals.

McAllister urged those in attendance to spend time during the Memorial Day holiday thinking about not only those who gave their lives, but the families of those fallen service members; to think of those who sat down to a holiday meal only to be visited by officers in dress uniform arriving to tell them their loved one wasn’t going to return.

“Don’t let this day be so commercialized that it gets swallowed up,” he said.

Mayor Harold Miller offered a proclamation in recognition of Memorial Day, noting there are many from the community who weren’t able to return home from their service.

“They never had a chance like most of us,” Miller said, also requesting a moment of silence in memory of the victims of last week’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Ron Haggerty, commander of American Legion Post 10, took a moment to recognize Ralph Wyatt and Jim Christian, two of the post’s oldest members, and also offering thanks to several members who have offered their support and assistance in the last year.

Wreaths from 15 area civic and veterans organizations, as well as public officials and more, were presented as part of the service, which included musical performances by the Weir High Band.

The service is organized each year by members of the American Legion Post 10.

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