POINT PLEASANT — Several annual events and celebrations are held every year over Memorial Day weekend to remember those who have served our country, but this past weekend there was a ceremony to present something new along Main Street.
On Friday morning, several local residents gathered at the Gene Salem Senior Center/Mason County Action Group (MCAG) for the presentation of the Flag of Honor from the Woodmen of the World Family Lodge 302. MCAG Project Administrator Beverly Hauder opened the ceremony and introduced Jim Workman, the president of the Woodmen of the World. Workman spoke on the history of the Flag of Honor, stating that it was created John Michelotti, who most recently updated it for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The flag contains the name of every person who died that day in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and on United Flights 175 and 93, and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77.
“It’s something we’re proud to accept,” said Renae Riffle, Executive Director of MCAG.
This ceremony was not only to remember those who perished on September 11, 2001, but to recognize those who have served the United States in any branch of the military, and to remember and honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives for our country. During the program, there were also several musical selections played for everyone to hear. Hauder stated the songs chosen for the ceremony were carefully selected for the program due to the lyrics, and reminded everyone to pay close attention to their meaning. “Proud to Be an American” was played, and everyone present joined in and sang “America the Beautiful”.
Another selection was the song “Where Were You,” by Alan Jackson. The song begins with the lyric “Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?” The song continued, asking several thought provoking questions about September 11, 2001, and what you were doing when you learned what had happened. Much like other life altering events in history, like President Kennedy’s assassination, just about everyone can remember exactly what they were doing and where they were when they learned about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Also during the ceremony, Hauder recited a poem titled “Fallen Hero,” by Anonymous, which read as follows:
“I stare at the casket; Draped with the nation’s cloth. I’m momentarily startled; As the guns go off. Another fallen soldier; Being laid to rest. I struggle to breathe; For this tightness in my chest. The bugler so smooth; As he hits every note. It is hard to swallow; Because of this lump in my throat. Tears fall like rain; As I look to the sky. No matter how many times I hear it; Taps still make me cry. The bugle now silent; As we pray for the dead. I gather myself; As I bow down my head. Lord bless these heroes; Who have given their lives. Comfort their children; Their husbands and wives. Let us not forget; They have given their all. Let the bugle be silent; Let no more soldiers fall.”
The Flag of Honor is on display at the MCAG/Gene Salem Senior Center. For more information on the history of the Flag of Honor, visit www.flagofhonor.org.