RACINE — A well attended Memorial Day program was hosted in Racine by American Legion Post 602.
At 10 a.m. Monday, the Southern High School band opened with US Armed Forces songs, before transitioning to ‘Taps” as Legion members performed flag honors.
Post Commander Kevin Willford stated the flag would remain at half mast during the holiday, and invited the crowd inside the Legion hall for featured guest, Lt. Colonel Zane Beegle.
The West Virginia National Guard officer is a familiar face to the area, but joked he was asked to speak “only because he was available.”
Beegle briefly spoke of his unusual path took to officership, his time at Ohio University, and the positive impact on his life during 24 years of service.
“But we are not here to talk of personal accomplishments,” he remarked, noting Memorial Day is to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the United States past and present.
“Many patriots returned home, some whole, some not. Some did not return at all.”
He noted that modern media saturation allows people to see much more of soldiers’ deeds, but at the risk of becoming detached from those sacrifices.
“1.1 million have given the ultimate sacrifice for what we take for granted.” These individuals “have laid down their lives for people they will never meet,” said Beegle.
Following the presentation, the Legion served refreshments and a representative of the Legion Auxiliary encouraged Auxiliary Membership; Commander Willford also announced the last fundraising dinner of the season to be held next Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
Legion Chaplain Denny Evans asked for a moment of silence for Kathryn Hart and Jan Cardone, two recently passed highly instrumental and respected Auxiliary members.
A closing prayer observed, in part, “Lord, we give thanks for the privilege to live in this great nation of ours.”
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.