Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Memorable

Memorial Day in Milan is always memorable. This is the second year I've covered events and I've again walked away with a renewed feeling of patriotism and respect for those who have served our country, defending our right to freedom.

I had the pleasure of meeting Harry McCrea, 89, and Bob Harbison, 87. Both Milan residents served our country in World War II. McCrea had the honor of serving as grand marshal in this year's Memorial Day parade. They were like celebrities as spectators took their pictures and shook their hands before the start of Monday's Memorial Day opening ceremony in front of American Legion Post 268.

I also met Seantell Pratt of Milan, who has performed "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes for the last five years as part of the program at Marble Park Cemetery. We talked about her commitment to the program and reasons for being part of it. "I feel it's my duty because my father was in the Marines and it has been a big deal in our household," she said. "It's my way to pay tribute to the people who have served and passed away."

Among the dedicated and longtime participants of the program were Len Federer, 1st vice chairman of American Legion Post 268 in Milan; Jean Early and Barb Gauntlett, members of the American Legion Auxiliary in Milan; and co-chair Eileen Kanitz, who joins Federer every year in putting together the program.

Also returning from last year were Bethany and Kyle Anderson, who sang "America the Beautiful" and Robbie Bolog of Milan, who played "Taps" on the bugle.

In particular, I was impressed with Mayor Kym Muckler's speech. She did an excellent job conveying the meaning of Memorial Day and relating it to everyone in the community. "In our hearts, we know that we could never fully express our gratitude and fulfill our obligation to these men and women," she said.

"We know they did not die for parades, wreaths or glory. They died so that in freedom our nation might endure.

"We should remember that our way of life is because of the sacrifices of our men and women of the military. Some from our very own community."

View her full speech on video at our Web site There are three videos total capturing all the events, including the parade.

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