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Veterans honored at WAA ceremony

Cub Scout Kyle Kelk – with Wooddell in the background – salutes after placing a wreath at the Mountain View cemetery. Photos courtesy of Gail Hyer
Cub Scout Kyle Kelk – with Wooddell in the background – salutes after placing a wreath at the Mountain View cemetery. Photos courtesy of Gail Hyer

Gail Hyer
Contributing Writer

Icy roads and cold temperatures around Pocahontas County kept many from participating in the Wreaths Across America event at Mountain View Cemetery in Marlinton Saturday. Still there were some hardy folks who braced the elements remembering that those they had come to honor showed up when they were called upon in the harshest of weather.

CW3 David Smithson, U. S. Army Retired, welcomed the group and explained the Wreaths Across America “represents our commitment as a United America to remember the fallen. We also want these remembrance wreaths to symbolize our honor to those who have served and are serving in the armed forces of our great nation and to their families who endure sacrifices everyday on our behalf.”

“Today, many of you here are Veterans of wars and conflicts that America has had to fight to protect the innocent and oppressed,” Smithson continued. “America has always been the first nation to stand up for the freedom of people from around the world. Many of you here today have answered that call and served your country well. We are here today to say “thank you” and we are honored to know you.”

The following people laid wreaths for specific branches of the service: Christopher Bartley with his son, Aedan – Army; Michael Hardesty – Marine Corp; Lora Smith – representing the Narrow Passage National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Woodstock, Virginia – Navy; Kyle Kelk – Air Force; Carl Kelk, with daughter Claire – Coast Guard; Dennis Driscoll – Merchant Marines; Kenneth Faulknier – POW and MIA.

Smithson spoke to the youngsters in Cub Scout Troop # 33.

“We want you to understand the freedoms you enjoy today have not been free but have come with a cost that, someday, you may have to pay yourself,” Smithson said. “As a nation standing together, we can defeat terrorism, hatred and injustice. Thanks to our Veterans, we have the freedom to do just that.

“One way you can show respect for service persons and their unmatched contribution to our country is to visit a cemetery. Write down the information of someone buried there with a military marker and when you return home, research their name on the Internet and find out all you can about this person. You will find they were real Americans with families, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. They were and are more than just a statistic.

“We honor the members of our military and their families for the sacrifices they make each day to keep our country safe from terrorism, hatred and injustice that plague the world community. When you see a Veteran or an active duty member of the armed services, take a moment to say ‘thank you.’ We owe them our way of life, and a moment of your time is well-spent.”

Pocahontas County Honor Corps members Sollie Workman, Donald Waybright, Steve Firebaugh, Clyde White, Tommy VanReenen, Ben Raugh, Homer Hunter, Sam Arbogast, Norris Long and Commander Rick Wooddell performed a 21-gun salute and the ceremony ended with the playing of “Taps.”

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