A weekend of honoring veterans

A weekend to recall the fallen warriors of many battles turned out to be very memorable as I traveled to four services last weekend.

My military observance weekend started Sunday with the Piney Fork Gwyn Allen Post hosting Boy and Girl State delegates they sponsored who gave readings.

Declan Straus, 11-month-old son of Noah and Michelle Straus, was wearing a shirt with red and white stripes with a field of stars on blue.

He was visiting his great-grandparents, Ed and Mildred “Toots” Waldman in Smithfield.

Ed took part in three services as well. He and Fred McGee were present at the Korean War Veterans Chapter 70 service in Wheeling Friday, and he was rifle firing leader for the Piney Fork and Jefferson County Veterans Association services on Sunday and Monday.

Carol Ramsey had her bull dog dressed in a Betsy Ross outfit for the Smithfield Legion services.

Her Backwoods Gang 4-H Club took part in the services, along with the Boots and Britches 4-H Club.

Duane Thomas looked striking in his summer white Navy uniform, while serving on the rifle salute line at the Smithfield services. I applaud Paul Greene for the fine job of putting the program together.

I sat with a great lady during the Adena program – Ann Zeroski. She was putting a poppy on the cross for Felix Zeroski and was dressed in red, white and blue colors for the holiday. Ann reminded me that I was at her home years back when she and her husband were selected as grand marshals for the Heritage Days Festival.

I was a bit startled to see a Wilson Funeral Home hearse at the Fort Friendship site and approached Jake Kaffana, looking dignified in a black suit that I am sure was quite warm, and asked the reason for it being there.

He introduced me to Norman Semperick, a Wilson employee, and they explained the enactment of a fallen MIA soldier returning home to a service to mark his passing.

Members of the Jefferson County Veterans Association served as pall bearers and walked through a line of members in a rifle salute.

They placed the flag- covered casket on a bier, went through a flag-folding ceremony and presented it to Commander Bill Smythe to fly over Fort Friendship.

Then Legion members filed by the casket and performed a salute to their fallen comrade. They asked veterans in the crowd to do so too if they wished.

One World War II veteran was unable to move well and raised from his chair and saluted. It was an overall moving site.

Diane Holcombe, our local artist, presented Frank Hoagland, guest speaker at Friendship activities, with one of her works – a flag and military memorabilia. It was done in memory of her father-in-law, John D. Holcombe, a Civil War soldier.

To all who served in the military, I would like to say thank you for serving.

And to all who lost loved ones, I wish you acceptance that their lives were not lost in vain.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is a staff columnist and food editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)