Brownstown Memorial Day service held at Fairview


The coronavirus pandemic may have changed the way the world looks, but it didn’t change the reason many Americans gather at cemeteries over the Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day in America looks vastly different than it did two years ago at this time,” Doug Pogue said Sunday afternoon during the annual Memorial Day service at Fairview Cemetery in Brownstown. The 2020 service was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Pogue, associate pastor of Brownstown Christian Church, said a lot of families and their friends in one way or another have been touched by the history-altering presence of a virus that has forever changed lives and the course of history.

“Over the past 18 months, I have stood on these grounds and others like it to lay to rest the family of many in our community, and it is for them today that we gather in remembrance, remembering their lives, their stories and their history,” he said.

Pogue said Revolutionary War-era poet Thomas Campbell said the patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.

“Today, we also come to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of service and life in defending and protecting this great land that we call the United States of America,” Pogue said.

He said Memorial Day weekend, which remembers those who have died in the service of their country, has its origins in the southern states.

That’s where each spring, the families would gather to decorate the graves and remember those who had passed away, Pogue said.

“To remember them as friends, families and neighbors,” he said. “As one mother in the southern states who lost her Confederate soldier son to a battle stood alongside the grave of a Union soldier … and realized that somewhere in the north there was a mother who was grieving for her son and so she decorated that grave as well as her son’s grave. A motherly act of kindness and sympathy was passed on from year to year. After all, these were two families who had lost sons during this war.”

Pogue quoted an often used scripture verse — John 15:13 — on Memorial Day.

“No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for their friends,” he said. “We are gathered in this place today to honor those who have paid the ultimate price so that we can benefit in ultimate freedom, but that privilege will not remain with us unless we have our modern-day warriors who are willing to sacrifice for the freedom of now and for the freedom of the generations to come.”

He said younger veterans need to step up and fill the shoes of those who now perform honor guard duties at Memorial Day services, the funerals of veterans and other similar tasks.

“So if you are a veteran, I challenge you this day to step up and let your presence be seen and felt for your brothers and sisters in arms who deserve the honor of a military presence at their passing,” he said.

Pogue said even people who are not military should talk to younger veterans about helping out.

“We need younger veterans to help carry on the tradition and the memory who have given so much before,” he said.

Sunday’s service began with a welcome by Marine Corps veteran Marvin Hash of Freetown, who also led the Pledge of Allegiance. Barry Cutter of Brownstown followed with the invocation, followed by veteran Glen Killey raising the American flag. An honor guard that included members of American Legion Post 89 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 provided a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of “Taps.”

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