[caption id="attachment_25812" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/05\/Memorial-Day-400x1024.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="1024" class="size-large wp-image-25812" \/> Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps members Steve Fierbaugh and Donnie Waybright lower the American flag to half mast at the Arbovale Cemetery Sunday as part of the annual Memorial Day Ceremony. S. Stewart photo[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nThe annual Memorial Day Service was held Sunday at Arbovale United Methodist Church.\r\n\r\nHosted by the Arbovale Cemetery Association, the event is a time to pay tribute to the servicemen-and-women who sacrificed for the safety, freedom and well-being of the country, and to remember those who passed away in the past year.\r\n\r\nGuest speaker Delegate Bill Hartman said it is important to continue celebrations like this, especially in small communities.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think it makes Arbovale a much stronger place because of the fact that everybody cares about the community and their citizens,\u201d he said. \u201cIt is an honor to be here to make special recognition of our citizens who have given the last full measure.\u201d\r\n\r\nHartman recalled that Memorial Day began in 1886, as a way to honor the fallen soldiers who fought for freedom. Since that time, however, Memorial Day has become much more. It is a reminder that those we have lost are never forgotten and decorating grave sites is just one way to honor their memories.\r\n\r\nHartman shared remarks made by Senator Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, who wrote about Flags In day \u2013 the Thursday prior to Memorial Day \u2013 when servicemen-and-women place American flags on each grave at Arlington Cemetery.\r\n\r\nIn his remarks, Cotton said each service member was assigned a row, and they used their length of their feet to ensure the flags were placed in a straight line along the row. As he did his row, Cotton reflected that there were graves for soldiers of all ages, all religions and all races \u2013 and they all died for America.\r\n\r\nHartman said he shared this story because he felt it exemplified what Memorial Day symbolizes.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis tradition goes on all over the country, and these kinds of traditions are what, I think, makes this country strong,\u201d he said. \u201cThe people we honor today are the folks that gave us our liberty.\u201d\r\n\r\nHartman added that he remembers his family\u2019s own tradition on Memorial Day \u2013 a tradition that is still vivid in his mind.\r\n\r\n\u201cI remember as a young kid, I lived with my grandparents, and my grandmother always raised peonies,\u201d he said. \u201cShe always had those, and we always took them to the cemetery to her parents on Memorial Day. We\u2019d put water in a quart jar and cut those peonies, and we\u2019d retrieve them after a week or ten days. That was part of the tradition when I was growing up.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn closing, Hartman reiterated how important these events and traditions are for keeping Memorial Day relevant and honoring the memories of those we\u2019ve lost.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think events like this are very important to keep Memorial Day alive,\u201d he said. \u201cI\u2019m very pleased that you\u2019re going to honor each of the citizens of Arbovale who has passed away since this time last year. I think that\u2019s very important. I appreciate all the families that are here because they have loved ones whose names will be read in a few minutes. These kind of events define rural communities. I think it\u2019s very, very important that we continue these traditions.\u201d\r\n\r\nAfter Hartman\u2019s speech, Suzanne Stewart read the names of those interred at Arbovale Cemetery between May 25, 2018 and May 25, 2019. As the names were read, family members or friends placed flowers in arrangements, with the help of Mary Ralston and Barbara Crist.\r\n\r\nThe arrangements were then taken to the cemetery where the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps lowered the flag to half staff and presented a 21-gun salute.