BURLINGHAM — Monday marked the 127th Memorial Day Celebration at Burlingham Church. The Honor Guard of Feeney Bennett Post 128 of the American Legion of Middleport gave a military tribute. The service then moved indoors.
The service opened with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and a welcome from Walter Jones. It continued as Rosalie Johnson read the names of veterans buried in Burlingham Cemetery, some of whom date back to the War of 1812. Soldiers from that war, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War are all buried there.
The Hayes Family provided music before the speaker, retired Army Major Ric Jones, was introduced. Jones is a retired Army veteran and is now the Senior Software Engineer for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Jones has over 35 years combined service to his country and his time as a government civilian. He is the son of Geraldine and Richard Jones, and the grandson of Frank and Victoria Jones.
Jones read an excerpt from the Pomeroy Democrat’s 1910 coverage of Burlingham’s Memorial Day service, provoking imagery of large groups of veterans and their families, dressed in their Sunday best, paying tribute to their fallen comrades and family members.
He went on to quote Abraham Lincoln, alluding to the Gettysburg Address and how, in only 272 words, Lincoln memorialized the sacrifices that men and women in the United States military gave, to themselves, their families, and to their country.
Jones also noted that the world as a whole has not gone back to war since World War II, while acknowledging that there have been conflicts in the years since, but not one that included so many countries for so long a time. He said, “There is nothing courageous or heroic about war,” but that heroism and courage are shown by those who fought. They are the ones who bring honor and valor to the nation.
Jones said that few members of the military want to fight. Instead, they do it so that others will not have to.
Following Jones’s speech, Karen Jones presented information about quilts that were displayed within the church, all of which had been sewn by quilting bees made up of women local to Bedford Township or close by. She gave a brief history of each one, and listed the women who had worked on them. Greg Jones and Steve Dougan then offered music up, and the service closed with prayer.
While Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, for many it represents so much more: a time to recognize and remember the men and women who fell in combat. It began before or during the American Civil War, and once that conflict ended became a tradition also known as Decoration Day. After World War II, using Memorial Day became the more common name, although it was in use by 1882. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved Memorial Day, along with other holidays, to a specified Monday. Memorial Day moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May. Currently, the Federal holidays affected by this act are Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
Jessica Marcum is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.