- Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 16:55
- Published on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 00:48
- Hits: 2016
A large crowd of almost 200 people gathered outside the cannon in Colonial Beach on Memorial Day. Citizens, family of fallen soldiers and fellow military joined in mourning the loss of great men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, as well as celebrating the lives of those still with us.
Captain Peter R. Nette, United States Navy, stationed in Dahlgren Virginia gave the Memorial Day address to honor the sacrifices made for this great nation.
Nette began, “Since 1868 we have come together as a country to lay wreathes and flowers and to fly flags at the gravestones of those that have given their last full measure of duty and devotion to our country.”
Nette said, “Today, instead of a day of solemn morning it should be a day of reverent celebration.”
He felt that it is fitting that our nation chooses the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. He said, “Summer is beginning and what could be a more fitting tribute to the men and woman who died in service to their country than a day that gives birth to a season filled with warmth and life. “
Nette said that soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery and others around the world share a common bond with today’s soldiers. They all hold the same values; loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor integrity and courage.
Nette spoke of three local soldiers who’s ultimate sacrifice inspired family and friends to honor our soldiers in various ways throughout the year.
Nick Mason, a King George High School graduate lost his life in 2004 in Mosul, Iraq while serving in the Army National Guard. Mason’s family, along with the family of Josh Frazier, a Stafford resident who died in Iraq in 2007, founded a group called, “Some Gave All.” A foundation that began with a few motorcycle riders who visited their son’s graves. It has grown to a yearly event including thousands of motorcycle riders raising donations. The foundation funds multiple scholarships and purchases equipment to remodel homes for wounded warriors.
Last fall, across the river in LaPlata, MD a ceremony was held to remember Private First Class, Frances Desales Wills, the only prisoner of war, missing in action serviceman from Charles County. He disappeared in 1966 in Vietnam during a long range reconnaissance patrol.
Nette said, “Wills was a young man who walked away from his home to catch a bus to boot camp. Never to be seen by his family again, but he invokes a memory that brings smiles and laughter to all who knew him.”
The honor of recognizing his sacrifice inspired Commissioner Kelly in Charles County to bring forth a state-wide initiative in 2012 that now sees the state and county facilities across Maryland flying the POW MIA flag.
Nette answered the question, “What can I do to help remember?” He read an anonymous post from someone who said he would buy a flower and place it on any local gravestone of soldiers who’s family could not be there to lay a flower, the poster also said he would pray for the soldiers and families left behind.
Nette said to the crowd, “I ask you to remember those who stood shoulder to shoulder against terror and oppression to carry freedom and support to foreign lands. Remember our military, support their families, never forget the missing and rejoice in their lives.
Participating in the day’s event: VFW post #10574 and post #8717, American Legion Aux. Unit #148, American Legion and Aux. Post #89, James Monroe Chapter SAR, Color Guard ATRC Dahlgren, Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Colonial Beach Moose lodge, Lions Club and Northern Neck Elks Lodge, Fraternal Order of Eagles and Aux. #4315, National Association of Retired Federal Employees # 595, Potomac Chapter of Military Officers Association, Colonial Beach Baptist Chior, Chaplain John Daly post #148, Clyde Hunt of B Flat Music Productions, Mayor Mike Ham and Vice Mayor Tommy Edwards. Special thanks to the Colonial Beach Police Department.