CENTERBURG — We gather on Memorial Day to honor those who, as President Abraham Lincoln said, “gave their last full measure of devotion.” But, Steve Masowick, first vice commander of the American Legion, Department of Ohio, told the crowd gathered at Centerburg Cemetery, he keeps thinking back to the mothers who have lost their children and who, during the Civil War, began what is now Memorial Day by decorating the graves of the husbands and sons who had died.
The practice started in the South, he noted, but they also decorated the graves of Union soldiers. Soon after the war, the practice had spread nationwide.
“I think,” Masowick said, “of the Gold Star Mothers who have sacrificed ... of the thousands of mothers who have sons and daughters in harm’s way.”
He referred to the devastation of such a loss and asked: “What can we say when a mother loses a child. I’m not sure we can ease the pain.”
We must continue to honor the living and remember the dead, he said, and we must remember the living who have also had to sacrifice.
A good crowd turned out at the cemetery despite the heat, but a breeze kept things comfortable as the crowd listened to Masowick and watched as memorial wreaths were placed to honor those who have did in their nation’s service.
The wreath from American Legion Post 460 was placed by Gwen Smith, wife of American Legion Post 460 Commander Robert Smith, and her sister, Sharon Vogelsong. Wreaths were also placed by Boy Scout Troop 382 and Cub Scout Pack 382.
“We always have a good turnout,” said Commander Smith. “I’m very pleased, I’m tickled to death, to see this many people.”
The road outside the cemetery was lined with cars when the small parade, which consisted of an American Legion Color Guard, the Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack, the Centerburg Marching Band and Flag Corps and a few decorated bicycles, arrived. Other people along the parade route also walked along to join the crowd at the cemetery for the annual ceremony sponsored by America Legion Post 460.
The speaker, Masowick, is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served on the destroyer USS DuPont. He is a resident of Streetsboro and a member of Streetsboro American Legion Post 685.