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They are remembered

Memorial Day observances honor war fallen

During Monday’s ceremonies, Albert “Big Al” Servant, one of seven family members who served in World War II, and his son George lay the Gold Star wreathat the rotary. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
May 31, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — To one former Southbridgian visiting Monday, local ways of honoring Memorial Day leave city ceremonies in the dust.

"I'm happy the small towns are doing as much as they are," said Teresa Sires of Conway, N.H., whose parents still live here. "It seems small towns do more than big, wealthy cities. … I'm enjoying being back and seeing what Southbridge is doing."

Sires' father is Lawrence Miskell, whose name is on the Honor Roll Memorial on Main Street, but who couldn't attend Monday's events due to illness. He served in the Pacific in World War II, she said.

The Sturbridge Militia fires a ceremonial salute during the Memorial Day program on the Town Common. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
To her, the biggest thing society could do to honor veterans is to stop having wars. She said she recently heard a veteran speak on that issue, saying "He said we should be peace-wagers, and I agree completely. People should go through training just like in the military services, but to wage peace."

To Sires, and many others, that ideal might be best organized by veterans because "they lived it, and have to come back and deal with it the rest of their lives."

Of course, Monday's events were generally aimed at honoring those who didn't return from the various wars America has fought over the years, with some time devoted to those who made it home, but passed away in the last year.

"I think it's beautiful' it's such a blessing to honor those who gave blood, guts and anything you can imagine, in the conditions they were in," said Kurt Young, whose World War II-veteran grandfather died earlier this year. "Some came back physically intact, but their minds stayed [behind].

Young said he'd love to see someone make a video documentary of what local veterans did and thanked them for their involvement in area schools.

"There's so much people in society don't understand. They're here for a parade and don't understand it's meaning," he said, noting he was medically unable to serve himself. "… The sad part about it is that you read about kids going around knocking down headstones. All these memorials are sacred, and it's very sad to know some treat them that way."

Rev. Charles Borowski took a couple minutes at the Honor Roll to address the sacred nature some see in such sacrifice, reading a prayer he said was found in the pocket of a dead World War II soldier.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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