Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Delegate Keam Observes Memorial Day

This past weekend was a busy one as the community gathered in Vienna to commemorate Memorial Day and to reflect upon the tremendous sacrifices and services of our men and women in uniform.  I was honored to participate at two Memorial Day observance cemeronies, one in the morning hosted by the American Legion's Post 180, and another in the afternoon hosted by Vienna Rotary.  Below is an article about the day's events.

A Day To Honor Sacrifice

American Legion pays tribute to veterans.

By Donna Manz, The Connection Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In between barbecues, festivals, store sales and family outings, many Americans paused to honor U.S. troops in harm's way and those combat casualties who sacrificed self on America's behalf. Vienna has no sacred wall of names to touch or statuary immortalizing veterans but it does have Vienna's American Legion Post 180 to perpetuate solemn Memorial Day traditions.

On Monday morning, Post 180 presented its annual Memorial Day ceremony at Flint Hill Cemetery. The Vienna Community Band opened the program with a patriotic and spirited repertoire giving way to the National Anthem.

Mayor M. Jane Seeman, State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34), Post Cmdr. Bob Hatter and Vienna historian Mayo Stuntz offered brief remarks before the honored guest speaker, U.S.A.F. Brig. Gen. Peter Sefcik Jr. addressed the assembly.

Calling himself honored and humbled to be there, Sefcik said, "Memorial Day is one of the most significant and solemn holidays we have in the U.S. It all starts with those willing to serve."

"Today is a sad day, but it's okay to smile and laugh, too," said Sefcik. "You live in the best nation on this planet. We have freedom, and that's something to celebrate and rejoice in."Sefcik, an active-duty reserve officer assigned to duties at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, is a Vienna resident and member of Post 180.

In attendance on the grass were State Del. Mark Keam (D-35) and Town Council members Laurie DiRocco, Edythe Kelleher and Mike Polychrones.

Petersen noted that Memorial Day is a significant day for the nation and the community, reminding guests that the country's first leader came from Fairfax County.

Seeman commented on how moving it was to her to see all the flags on veterans' graves at Flint Hill, thanking Post 180 for placing them there.

Ending the solemn ceremony, Commander Hatter and Vice-president of Auxiliary Martha Hatter lay the red, white and blue wreath. A three-volley gun salute punctuated the stillness, followed by Taps, as veterans stood in salute.

Following the Flint Hill ceremony, veterans and their families were invited to American Legion Hall for lunch.

The women of the American Legion Post 180 Auxiliary spent Thursday morning planting small flags at the gravesites of veterans buried there, all 125 of them. Many of the interred fought in the Civil War and first World War and World War II.

Not long after midnight on May 29, Post 180 representatives took to Route 123, posting American flags along Vienna's main thoroughfare.

Sefcik talked about the price fallen troops paid defending liberty."They died in pursuit of the freedom and liberty we now enjoy," Sefcik said.

ViVa! Vienna! honored Memorial Day with a tribute on Monday at 3 p.m. on the Town Green. U.S.M.C. Gen. Richard M. Lake of Fairfax County, director of intelligence and senior language authority, was guest speaker.

Students from George C. Marshall and James Madison high schools provided musical support to the program. On Route 123 in Oakton, the Cox Farms marquee sounded the sentiment of the day. "Remember the Fallen" it read.
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