POMEROY — “Every day for me is Memorial Day for all the friends I have lost. I just try to remember the good things, “ said Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Marcinko, guest speaker at the American Legion Post #39 Memorial Day services in Pomeroy.
Marcinko enlisted in August 2002 and served until his retirement in 2019 due to multiple injuries he suffered while serving. The 2001 Eastern Local High School graduate is currently attending Ohio University, where he is a senior majoring in Physical Activity, Sports Coaching, and Sports Management.
During his service, Marcinko was deployed in Iraq 2004-2005, and again in 2007-2009. He also served a tour of duty in Afghanistan from 2011-2012. His service took him to Hawaii with the 121st Infantry, and to Ft. Richards, Alaska, with the 3rd 509 Infantry. He was a section leader at the United States Army Sniper School, and an instructor at the United States Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
Marcinko explained that the word sacrifice in referring to those who serve is misused, and that many do not comprehend the true meaning the word sacrifice has to those individuals and their families and friends.
“All veterans have sacrificed for the greater good when your nation calls you,” he said. “When you see a 5 year old hug her dad’s casket at Arlington National Cemetery, it is an eye opener of what sacrifice means. You do it for your country, your friends, and family, knowing you might not come back, it is special and honorable.”
He said he misses his friends every day, and is sure their families do as well, and shared that Memorial Day is difficult.
“Memorial Day is hard. I know many people see it as a day to celebrate, have cookouts, but it is hard for many of us. It is emotional, hard to celebrate when you have so many friends who have lost their lives in combat.”
He stated that those who serve keep the wolves at bay so everyone can live a comfortable life, and his advice is rather than complain about the things you do not have, instead be thankful for what you do.
“I’ve seen real sacrifice in action. I’ve seen it, felt it, so we can live in peace,” Marcinko said.
Post #39 Commander John Hood welcomed the crowd who had come to pay tribute to those who had lost their lives in service to their country, and introduced speaker Marcinko. He said the day was not about picnics or parades, and while that had become a way of life in this country, it was important to remember what the day truly stands for.
Jerry Fredrick, Post #39 Chaplin, gave the invocation, and also a reading of “That Tattered Old Flag.” The Southern Local Marching Band, under the direction of Chad Dobson, played the Star-Spangled Banner as a member of Post #39 raised the flag to full staff, before lowering it to half mask, where it traditionally stays until noon, when it is raised to full staff.
Post#39 Auxiliary member Vicki Griffith presented the importance of poppies on Memorial Day, and Kathy Thomas read “Flanders Field,” as Tom Arnold stood with the paper poppies that serve as a reminder of those who have died.
Post#39 members had visited several cemeteries and held a tribute at the flags located below the Veterans Memorial Bridge of Honor/Pomeroy-Mason Bridge. After lunch, the group held more services at cemeteries in Meigs County.
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