A veteran reflects while TAPS is being played on a bugle during a gloomy Memorial Day ceremony.

“We remember this day before you all who served in our armed forces of our great nation. Protect and defend them in the day of battle and in peace. Grant that they serve with honor and dignity both to your great glory and to the credit of this great nation,” Chaplain Kay Benscoter said in prayer to those who attended Monday’s Memorial Day service in Hawthorne.

In a well-attended service at Veterans Memorial Park under stormy skies, the crowd gathered to remember those they fought for, lost or even those they had never met in honor of Memorial Day.

“In quiet services across our country today, we come together as a nation to remember those lost in the clash of battle; the thunder of bombs, the roar of tanks, the rumbling of airplanes flying overhead and the scream of artillery shells. This Memorial Day, we come together to appreciate the freedom that we enjoy today as we honor the sacrifices that paid for it,” VFW 2313 President John Stroud explained to the crowd.

The Big Flag snapping in the wind, Stroud would continue, “Generation after generation, our nation has been lucky enough to have service members who continue to believe that freedom is worth fighting for and, if necessary, dying for. In cemeteries across America and around the world today, people will pause to spread flowers on the graves of those lost in war. But today, Memorial Day, isn’t about the number killed, it’s not about the sorrow we feel at their loss and it’s not about mourning; what it is about was best expressed by General George s. Patton back in 1944 at a military cemetery in France. Looking across a field filled with rows of crosses marking the graves of men who, just days before, had been part of his Army, Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died…rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

The names of the men etched in stone at the park were read out loud to the sound of lonesome bell. Each of the names a tie to Mineral County.

“Live to preserve their legacy, educating all who believe Memorial Day is just another holiday and passing along our knowledge to the next generation so they may do the same. We must ensure that the youth of tomorrow understand the true cost of freedom,” Stroud would conclude.