PARKERSBURG – More than 200 veterans and community members gathered Monday morning around the Veterans Plaza of City Park to pay homage to and remember the fallen and those missing in action.
“May we be inspired to be more abundant with our giving as we commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said American Legion Post 15 Chaplain Mike Sundstrom.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said he is honored to be part of the Memorial Day service each year.
“On the stones behind us are the names of those who paid the ultimate price,” said out-going AL Post 15 commander Jim Viers. “Those who died later because of injuries, wounds and mental issues from the war are also honored here today.”
Viers spoke to the crowd about those lost in recent wars, including Korea and Vietnam, of which he is a veteran.
“Now we come to Iraq, we go in, lose a lot of people and pay them,” he said. “What did we accomplish? They are still fighting and in the same shape as before we came.”
Viers added that the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan will end the same and urged people to vote for politicians who will end the conflicts and death.
“What makes American free is what we have given,” he said. “We need to look at (what has happened in the Middle East) and get out… veterans have to let people know what war is really like.
“If this country is going to remain free, we have to get out and talk.”
Viers also demanded all fallen heroes are brought home.
“There are still 50,000 missing from World War II,” he added. “It must be demanded we leave no one behind.”
The full Memorial Day service on Monday included posting of the colors, “Taps,” the laying of a wreath and a rifle salute. The names of veterans who have died since the last Memorial Day were read before the benediction to honor those men and women of the area who served their country and told their stories.