Weirton honors its veterans

WEIRTON – The weather was perfect for dozens of residents and veterans who attended Weirton’s Memorial Day service at the Weirton Honor Roll monument on Three Springs Drive Monday.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash Sr. served as master of ceremonies and led the crowd in reciting the national anthem to kick off the service before Bill Wright led the invocation.

Mayor George Kondik welcomed citizens and challenged the young people present to apply themselves in learning more about the true meaning of the holiday.

“Thank you to George Ash, who organizes this and dedicates a large amount of time to helping veterans year-round,” Kondik said.

The Weir High School Band provided music for the event under the direction of Ray Seifert. Members of the Weirton Woman’s Club Drama Department sang several vocal selections including “You’re A Grand Ole Flag,” “Salute to the Armed Forces” and “God Bless America.”

The keynote speaker was former delegate and author Pat McGeehan, who also served two tours in Afghanistan as a U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer. He stressed that Memorial Day means more than just a good barbeque and pools opening.

“Many Americans today have no understanding of what war entails or what real sacrifice is all about, but these men and women know,” McGeehan said before inviting veterans to stand up and be recognized for their personal sacrifices. “More than 10,000 Americans were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan just in the last decade. Today we must remember those sacrifices and remember those Americans overseas now who are still engaged in combat. Dozens of Americans in uniform have died just this year, although the media fails to report on it. We must remember their sacrifice and learn from history. War should only be used as an absolute last resort. We can no longer afford to send our men and women overseas for wars of aggression.”

Wreaths presented in the ceremony included: Gold Star Mothers, P.O.W./M.I.A., American Legion Post 10, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2716, VFW Post 2716 Auxiliary, American Legion Post 10 Sons of Legion, American Legion Post 10 Auxiliary, World War II Last Man’s Club, Korean War Veterans, Vietnam War Veterans, Persian Gulf Veterans, Tri-State Marine Corps Club, Weirton Woman’s Club, Boy Scout Troop 334, Cub Scouts, Elks Lodge 1801, Moose Lodge 688, AHEPA Lodge 103 and First Choice Federal Credit Union.

The American Legion Honor Guard and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard performed a salute to the dead and stood at attention for taps, which was played by Nick Campbell of the Weir High School Band before the closing of the service.