Salem Memorial Day Celebration

by S.  Aaron Shamshoyan

What began as a way to honor those lost in the Civil War, Memorial Day now offers time to pay respects to all soldiers in battles since.

Salem honored their veterans Monday with a parade beginning at Pine Grove Cemetery and leading to Veterans Memorial Common for their traditional service by the Salem Veterans Association.

State Representative Joseph Sweeney spoke about fallen soldiers and their dedication to the country.  “We are here because they gave their last breath,” he said.  “Honoring those fallen in combat is not proactive, it’s reactive.”

Sweeney asked soldiers always be remembered.  “Memorial Day is a day to honor those who gave up their lives,” he said.  “They fought for us, they fell fighting for us,” he added, “Freedom has never been and will never be free.”

Association President Douglas Micklon spoke on recent work done in Veterans Cemetery.  “A lot of stones have been placed back in their upright position,” he said, noting Comcast helped with the project.  “We lifted all if the veterans foot markers so they are no longer below the ground.”

The Salem High School Chorus preformed songs including the National Anthem “The Star Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” and “Song for an Un-Sung Hero.”

The Blue Devils Marching Band preformed the Armed Forces Melody, directed by Martin Claussen.

Association Secretary Enrico Casaletto spoke about POW/MIAs.  “Today is Memorial Day,” he said.  “We never forget our POW or MIAs.”  A chair in front of the audience was designated for POW/MIAs and flanked by two members of the Salem High School Air Force JROTC for the duration of the ceremony.

Association Chaplain George MacLean read a roll call of years past deceased veterans while the band preformed.