ELLWOOD CITY – A special ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday in front of the municipal building to lay a wreath at the WWII monument commemorating Victory in Europe Day.
Joe Fisher, Commanding Officer of American Legion Post 157, and Legion members will place the Beaver-Lawrence Veteran Honor Guard and the Guard of Honor will shoot a volley and Taps will be played to observe Germany’s official surrender on May 8, 1945, marking the end of World War II in Europe.
Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court will be the guest speaker and Steve Plyler, the pastor of the Bell Memorial Presbyterian Church, will give the blessing. The public is invited to attend.
“We are determined to remember our veterans,” said Fisher. “We never forget that freedom is not free, men and women have served and died for it.”
American Legion member Bob Morabito said remembering became more and more important every year because there were so few WWII veterans among us.
The laying of a wreath to commemorate Victory Day is just one of the ways that local veterans are remembered and honored because veterans feel obligated to remember those who lived before .
Clyde Hendershot, commander of the Beaver-Lawrence Veterans Honor Guard, said due to COVID-19 the group was unable to honor veterans at funerals, but on May 1 they honored veteran Donald Covert in Ellwood City and can now continue with funerals.
“It’s all about dedication, dedication to our nation and the men and women who have served,” he said.
The oldest active member is Ron Snare, with around 50 years in the Honor Guard, and the oldest inactive member is Sam Teolis, one of the founders of the Honor Guard.
Teolis said that in 1948, the nation began bringing home the bodies of deceased servicemen in Europe, and local groups of veterans would attend the funeral until 1956, when the honor guard was called. been formed.
To be ready for Memorial Day, over 3,000 flags are placed at veterans’ graves at 6 p.m. May 24 at Wurtemburg Cemetery, May 25 at Slippery Rock Presbyterian Cemetery, and May 26 at Holy Redeemer and Locust. Grove. Volunteers are always welcome.
Beginning around 6 a.m. on Memorial Day, the Honor Guard travels to 15 cemeteries to pay their respects to veterans by shooting a volley and playing Taps. Each group consists of three skirmishers and a bugle, and if they do not have enough for two groups, one group will do the honors.
Morabito said it was a beautiful and moving experience as the sun is just rising and everything is calm and calm.
American Legion and Honor Guard Pete Maietta said every veteran is honored.
“We walk down Grandview Avenue to the grave of a dog who served in WWII from 1941 to 1945, shoot a volley and play taps,” Maietta said.
To get ready for Memorial Day, flowers are planted at Legion Memorial Park, usually by Sam Pawlowski, a volunteer. Early in the morning the flag is lowered and at noon it is respectfully hoisted.
Prior to COVID, Memorial Day included a parade that ended at Legion Park, where there would be music, speeches, and American Legion essay winners reading their essays.
Hendershot said veterans will continue to honor veterans.
“We owe our freedom to our veterans,” Fisher said. “We have to honor them and thank them.
“When I get my cap on, people will come to me and thank me for my service and I will do the same for others,” he said.
Fisher said all veterans are welcome to attend Legion Post 157 meetings, which are held at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Ellwood-Wampum Rod and Gun Club, 2406 Wampum Road, Wayne Township. New members pay no membership fee for the first year.