- Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

June 13, 2014

Service honors those who sacrificed for us

GROVE CITY AREA — Men and women who served in the armed forces and gave the ultimate sacrifice were remembered Sunday afternoon in a moving ceremony held at Crestview Memorial Park in honor of Memorial Day.

"Greater love knows no one more than a man who laid down his life for his friends," guest speaker and Army veteran Keith Stoughton told the crowd at the Pine Township cemetery, encouraging them to keep in mind those who died for our country any time they see a flag on a grave.

The ceremony was hosted by American Legion John R. Huff Post 220, Grove City, whose post adjutant, Odis Hamilton, said Memorial Day is a time to remember the heroes that allow us to remain free.

"This day is sacred," said American Legion Vice Commander Richard Hockenberry, who gave the invocation.

Stoughton, founder and president of Operation Joint Forces and a member of Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 603, Grove City, started off his speech by reading a letter written by Army 1st Lt. Todd Weaver to his wife Emma.

Mrs. Weaver found the letter on her husband's laptop computer two days after he was buried. Weaver, of Hampton, Va., was killed Sept. 9, 2010, in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.

Weaver wrote the letter in the event he did not make it home, assuring his wife that he would be watching over her and their daughter Kylie from heaven.

People like Weaver are resting in Crestview and places all over the world, like the depths of the sea and Pearl Harbor, Stoughton said.

"It may be a small part of a battleship," he said.

They defend our rights and value life and must never be forgotten, for they are the true definition of Memorial Day.

"They bravely ready themselves to die for the service of our country," he said.

Those who serve in all branches of the military do so because they feel it is their duty, much like Weaver.

"Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were born," Stoughton said, reading part of Weaver's letter.

He identified with that sentiment because he believes that soldiers are born with a "seed of duty," which grows into desire to serve your country, then turns into training and matures into a soldier ready to answer the call, even if it leads to death, and Weaver knew that.

"For a soldier, not even death releases us from our duty...He had given all and more," Stoughton said of Weaver.

Sunday's ceremony ended with members of the American Legion and Claire Van Eman VFW Post 519, Grove City, placing flags on veterans' graves and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Hockenberry gave the benediction and Hamilton gave closing remarks.

Music was provided by the Harrisville Community Band and Lawrence Bubeck played the bagpipes.

The American Legion Color Guard and Moniteau Ceremonial Rifle Squad also participated in the ceremony.

The American Legion was assisted by Boy Scout Troop 81, Grove City Sportsmens Club, Crestview Memorial Park, members of the VFW, Kocher's Florist, Grove City Veterans Council, Harrisville Community Band, the rifle squad, Bubeck, the Legion's Ladies Auxiliary and those who helped place flags on the graves of veterans in 23 area cemeteries.

Published May 28, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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