As they have for years, members of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 164 honored America’s war dead again Saturday with a Memorial Day observance in downtown Pembroke.
Around 30 people attended the ceremony, which lasted perhaps 30 minutes and, as in years past, included the town’s local Scout troops.
“For many … it’s a time to spend around the pool or at the malls. It’s often easy to forget this is a day to honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives serving in our armed services,” said Lonnie Dombrosky, who along with his wife, Kristie, leads Boy Scout 141 and Cub Scout Pack 141.
Also participating were Boy Scout Troop 357 Scoutmaster Dave Williams with his troop. Also attending were Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell and state Sen. Buddy Carter.
“We get caught up a lot in the modern day where everybody thinks it’s just a holiday,” Carter said. “It’s much more than that, it really is. It’s something that we should all stop and recognize how many people before us have sacrificed for our nation.”
Carter recognized organizers for including Scouts in the observance, which explained the meaning of the holiday and its symbols and the raising of service flags and an American flag.
“Instilling (the importance of Memorial Day) in young people like they’re doing here today is vitally important,” he said. “It needs to go from generation to generation.”
During the ceremony, which began after a prayer from American Legion Chaplain David Cone, speakers lauded the sacrifices of those who serve — and those who never got to come home from wars as recent as Iraq and Afghanistan and as far in the past as the Civil War.
They also praised those who took time on a busy holiday weekend to attend.
“Each of you who decided to come here, you do not take freedom for granted,” said Jana Smolinski, a member of Richmond Hill American Legion Post 27. “By being here today you are an example for others.”
Smolinksi also reminded attendees of the issues surrounding health care for veterans.
“Our veterans are suffering and sometimes dying without proper medical care,” she said. “We are forgetting (our promise) to the families of the fallen. Please keep this in mind when you go to the polls this November to exercise that right these soldiers fought so hard to defend.”
Susie Magee, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, commended those who lead through service in organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.
“My hat is off to all the leaders who step up to the plate and say, ‘Yes, I’ll be glad to help you with that Cub Scout pack,’ or, ‘Yes, I’ll be glad to help you with that Boy Scout troop,’” she said. “Yes, you’re special.”