Hundreds of people, not only from the Midstate, but from across all of Pennsylvania gathered on Sunday afternoon at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery to thank those who have served and remember those who didn’t make it home.
People said Memorial Day is not about the barbecues or the picnics, it’s about making sure those who fought for our country did not die in vain.
“This is the day that the Americans take a step back and say ‘Thank God I’m an American.'” Lt. Gen. Stephen Olmstead, a guest speaker at the event, said.
Hundreds of thousands never made it home, “So you and I can enjoy the 24th of May. The year 2015,” Olmstead said.
The men and women who served and are currently serving are reminded every single day of the gift of freedom; but that freedom has been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice.
“This keeps them alive,” Rick Yarosavich, a veteran from West Wyoming, said. “They really need to be recognized. They need to always come out to things like this so they have never died in vain.”
A wreath was laid to remember all of those who lost their lives. For those missing in action; a table with an empty seat to show they are not forgotten.
“It is set for one symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks,” Leanna Dietrich, the president of the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery Memorial Council, said.
A reminder to those who still endure the pain, agony and deprivation of never getting the chance to say goodbye.
“Memorial Day is not about me, although I am a veteran, but Memorial Day is about those who have paid and given that sacrifice for this country,” Yarosavich said.
So we can rest assured we always have tomorrow, today.
“It is so important for the young people to know what Memorial Day represents and that is the soldiers that lost their lives so that we could enjoy our freedom,” Jeneelyn Maugans, of Harrisburg, said.
In the last 100 years, more than 600,000 people have died fighting for our country, and at least five generations of families were present at the ceremony.