By Robert McGuire
Thank you, Ed
Thank you and welcome to Lopez, Ice Box Of Pennsylvania.
It is already a year since we were here last. Most of the faces are the same. A few are missing and looks like a couple of new faces. We met here and meet here again to honor our American Military men and women, who served in the United States armed forces and gave their all. That is the purpose of Memorial Day. It is a shame that we only pause to honor them only once a year.
For me, it is more about the history of our great nation and honoring those it took to get us and keep us free.
Men like famed Audie Murphy, the most decorated serviceman in WWII. Most youngsters don’t know of Audie. Many of you don’t know, Audie tried to get into the Marines, tried to get into the Air Force, tried to get into the Navy, rejected every time because he was too young and too small. He did manage to get into the Army by lying about his age. His deeds have since become part of American history, and at the age of 19 years old, Audie Murphy Received the Medal of Honor …I would like to tell you briefly of just one man from right here in Lopez.
Although there were many. This man had quite an understanding of engineering skills and had great abilities as an artist. He enlisted in the US Army on 20 January 1942 at Fort Mead, Maryland. On one of many operations in the Pacific Theater, this soldier got separated from his platoon. In trying to get back to his men, he got into a firefight with Japanese soldiers. After the smoke cleared, 30 Japanese lay dead. He continued on to meet up with his men saving them from ambush. On another occasion, he and a buddy took out a well-fortified machinegun nest while refusing to pull back after the weapon was shot out of his hands. he regained his weapon and it was again shot out of his hands losing two fingers. Both men suffered wounds. He received the PURPLE HEART, SILVER STAR, BRONZE STAR, PACIFIC THEATER RIBBON WITH THREE STARS, AND GOOD CONDUCT MEDALS. This man was Sergeant Herbert W. Rodda born 29 Nov 1918 right here in Lopez.
The schools today do not teach much about HOW we got here, or WHO got us here. Our US soldiers in two world wars and many other wars made us free and also freed many nations around the globe. The cost was great. Many soldiers were killed. Many were injured. Some were lucky.
Today I would like to honor the American Soldiers that gave their all and never came home. On foreign soil around the world, there are some 23 well-kept American Memorial Cemeteries that are a tribute to our American Soldiers. They are maintained to the highest degree with beautiful Memorials, walls or tablets listing missing in action, Chapels, and landscaping.
Cambridge American Cemetery in England
3812 American Soldiers
5127 Listed on the walls missing in action
Suren American Cemetery in France (Suresnes)
1565 American Soldiers there
974 missing in action
Muze Argon American Cemetery in France (Meuse Argonne)
Largest American Cemetery in Europe
14,246 American Soldiers
9 Medal Of Honor recipients
Aine Marn American Cemetery in France (Aisne Maene)
2289 American Soldiers rest there
1060 missing in action
Brookwood American Cemetery in England
468 of our military dead
563 missing in action
Some American Cemetery in France (Somme)
1844 graves of our military
3 Medal of Honor recipients
333 missing in action
Wasane American Cemetery in France (Oise-Aisne)
6012 of our soldiers resting there
241 missing in action
St. Meell American Cemetery in France (St. Mihiel)
4153 graves of our military dead
284 listed as missing
Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium
5323 brave soldiers rest there
462 are listed on plaques of the missing
Luxembourg American Cemetery Luxembourg
5076 Americans in graves there
371 listed as missing in action
Gen. George S. Patton is also resting there
Onree Chapell American Cemetery in Belgium
7992 American soldiers paid the ultimate
35 pairs of brothers resting there
450 are listed missing in action
Epinal American Cemetary in France
5255 of our soldiers rest there among 4 Medal of Honor recipients
424 listed as Missing in action
Lorraine American Cemetery in France
10,489 American soldiers resting there
444 listed as missing in action
Normandy American Cemetery in France
9387 American Soldiers in graves there
with 3 medal of honor recipients
35 sets of brothers are among those resting there
1557 listed on walls of the missing
Brittany American Cemetery in France
4410 American soldiers interred there
3 Medal Of Honor recipients
498 missing in action listed on the walls
Rhone American Cemetery in France
860 of our military remain there
294 listed as missing in action
Manila American Cemetery in Philippines
17,201 US military graves there
36,285 names on tablets of missing in action
Flanders Field American cemetery Belgium
368 US Military dead
43 names on walls of the missing
Florence American Cemetery Italy
4,402 US military dead
1,409 listed on tablets of the missing
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Italy
7,861 American Military war dead
3,095 listed on walls of the missing
Netherlands American Cemetery Netherlands
8,301 of our military dead
1,722 names on tablets of the missing
North Africa American Cemetery Tunisia
2,841 of our military dead
The wall of missing lists 3,724 names
Mexico City national cemetery Mexico
813 Americans there in crypts
750 American unknown
Corozal American cemetery Panama
5,424 American Veterans
All lost their lives in the cause of Freedom.
This does not take into account those lost at sea.
It does not count those in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Nor does it count the hundreds of thousands of cemeteries around these United States like the six right here in Lopez. I hope this will help you comprehend the cost of freedom.
These Military Heroes gave up all of their tomorrows so we could have ours.
Freedom is not free.
It is the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is the Military who
Salutes that flag, it is the Military who serves beneath that flag, and it is the Military whose coffin is draped by that flag.
You will hear TAPS (Last Post) in a few minutes. This is the 1862 version. The original version was written in 1801 by Daniel Butterfield and shortened to 24 notes in 1862. If you remain here after the troops are dismissed, you will hear the original played by 13-year-old Melissa Venema with Enrie Orchestra at the end.
GOD bless our armed forces
God bless America