County observes Memorial Day with speeches, ceremony

Freedom comes at a great price.

That was part of the message that speaker Rep. Greg Delleney emphasized during his keynote speech Monday at the Chester County Memorial Day observance.

The event took place at the Chester County War Memorial Building. It was jointly sponsored by the Chester County Office of Veteran’s Affairs and the Marine Corps League, Chester County Devil Dogs Detachment 1161.

Following the opening prayer by Rev. Trey Hager, the posting of the colors by the Color Guard of the Chester High School JROTC, the Pledge of Allegiance and a patriotic song by Sharon Peterson, local veteran leaders and community leaders made their comments on the day. Then Delleney took the podium as the keynote speaker.

“We are celebrating the lives and memories of all the Americans who died serving our country in any military action or war. We remember those patriots with ceremonies and speeches, and we remember those who gave their lives so that others might live in peace and continue to have the freedoms that we often take for granted.

“Memorial Day is a day for recalling the sacrifices of those who have defended our precious freedoms. The American identity is not based on ethnicity, or geography, it is based on a moral proposition…straight from that faded and yellowed document The Declaration of Independence, which says: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: among them, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“We are right to pause and reflect on those great patriots who were willing to give of themselves and who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the defense of such a noble cause.

“When we remember, when we honor those who served in our military, and who made the supreme sacrifice, when we remember those who gave up their lives for our country, those who gave up their hopes and dreams, their families and friends, those who gave all they had to give, their sacrifice should inspire in us a profound sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, bought with a great price.”

Following the speech, the members of the Marine Corps League folded an American flag, explaining what each one of the 13 folds mean. The flag was then presented to Kirk Roberts, a veteran of the Korean War and reportedly the oldest veteran at the ceremony. Roberts served in Korea and was wounded three times.

The final solemn ceremony was the unveiling of the monuments to the Chester County war dead, and the placing wreaths at the monuments to the fallen of each war, as relatives representing those whose names were inscribed on the monuments stood by in a Guard of Honor. And as the sound of Taps floated on the afternoon air, the members of the Devil Dogs rendered a salute to the fallen.