A crowd estimated at near 100 gathered around the World War II Memorial on the grounds of the old Westfield School Sunday afternoon as the Westfield Ruritan Club hosted the 23rd Annual Community Memorial Day Service.
The memorial recognizes former Westfield students who went on to serve in World War II. Patriotism and honor of soldiers who have served and sacrificed as well as those who are currently serving was a theme for the day.
Highlights included the placing of a wreath at the World War II Memorial by Ruritan Mike Norman, who served in the US Army from 1965-66, including active duty in Vietnam.
“It was good to see so many in the community come out in support of veterans,” Norman said afterward. “It was especially gratifying to see so many of the younger people out today. That’s a good thing.”
Ruritan Will Lubbert assisted in the dedication of the flag which was then raised over the World War II Memorial by members of the VFW Memorial and Honor Guard.
Pilot Mountain Post 9436 Commander Harlan J. Hawks served as guest speaker for the day. In a short but powerful speech, Hawks pointed to the significance in the nation’s history of those who have served and the importance of making sure they are remembered.
“We are fortunate,” Hawks said, “to live in a country worth fighting for. And we pay tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
The country and its military, Hawks added, have taken a stand against “oppression, tyranny, cruelty and evil.”
“No other nation’s sacrifice for freedom has been greater than America’s,” he continued. “We remain dedicated to honoring our nation’s fallen. We honor the dead by helping the living and those who have returned from war.”
Through this, he noted, loved ones of the fallen “find comfort in knowing their lives were not lost in vain.
According to Westfield Ruritan Club President Greg Jessup, the annual Memorial Day service is viewed as a valuable part of the club’s contributions to the community.
“This is a good day to remember,” he said. “This helps to tell our kids and our younger generations how things have been and the sacrifices that have been made. It remembers the people who have served and sacrificed for our country and especially those who have fallen.”
Westfield Ruritan Secretary Frank Meyer had opened the service by welcoming those in attendance. Afterwards, he talked about the role the service had played in prompting him to become a Ruritan.
“When my family moved here in 1998, we were impressed that a small community like Westfield would have this service. It was one of the things that led me to join the club the following year,” he said.
“This day means a lot to our community,” Myer continued, “and it’s only one of the ways our club serves this community. We hope that others will see this and want to be a part of what we’re doing.”