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Memorial morning Rothsville at 8:45 Lititz at 10:45
By: LAURA KNOWLES CALLANAN Record Express Correspondent LAURA KNOWLES CALLANAN Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Memorial Day was especially significant to Harriet Fasnacht and Brenda Fetter, as they remembered their cousin Jefferson Musser during services in Rothsville.
Musser had just died on May 18, and his grave was fresh with turned over soil. Fasnacht and Fetter realized that since flags were being placed on graves for Memorial Day, their cousin deserved to be honored for his service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
"We wanted to come here and put up a flag for Jefferson," said Fasnacht. "It’s our way of saying thank you to him."
"Thank you" was the message of Senator Mike Brubaker who spoke at the earlier parade and ceremony in Rothsville at 8:45 a.m., then later spoke in Lititz.
"The harsh reality of war is unfathomable by those who have not experienced it," said Brubaker, adding, "Today we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice."
Brubaker went on to encourage everyone to express their thanks to those who had served their country, as well as their families who waited for them and sacrificed for their loved ones serving in war.
"Reach out to someone who has served and say thank you," said Brubaker.
Brubaker’s comments came after the small parade of Scouts, the Warwick High School band, fire and police from the area, Civil War reenactors and members of the VFW and American Legion marched along Main St. to Church Road and to the cemetery at Jerusalem Lutheran Church.
Scouts placed flowers on the graves of veterans, some of whom had died in service to their country, while others had been fortunate enough to return to their families.
"Only 28 percent of Americans know what Memorial Day stands for," said Brubaker. "It is not just an excuse for a picnic or a barbecue."
Brubaker, who is currently serving his second four-year term representing Lancaster and Chester County in the Pennsylvania Senate, wanted to make sure people understood the significance of Memorial Day in honoring those who have made the world safer and protected the homeland.
"We owe a heavy debt to those who have served," said Brubaker.
The ceremony also including the singing of the National Anthem led by William Stauffer, the reading of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of 1863 by Civil War Union soldier reenactor Bruce Hoover and patriotic music by the Warwick High School band.
Taps were played, followed by a salute with guns fired.
"We always come to Rothsville for Memorial Day," said Fetter. "Today we remember our cousin and everyone else who served." One by one, the veterans who have served our country were honored in the Memorial Day services at Lititz on Monday.
The U.S. Air Force. The U.S. Army. The U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. Marine Corps. The U.S. Navy.
Each who served was honored, from the Civil War to World War II to the War in Afghanistan. And to each man and woman who had served the United States, Senator Mike Brubaker had just two words he wanted to say.
"We owe a heavy debt to those who have served," said Brubaker from the cemetery at the Lititz Moravian Church, where the services were held following a parade through downtown Lititz.
Brubaker went on to say that, "We mourn those who never came home alive." He encouraged everyone to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, including those who sacrificed their lives, those who risked their lives to serve and their families who waited at home through sleepless nights and fear of news that their loved one had been lost.
"I challenge each of you," said Brubaker. "Reach out to someone who has served and say thank you."
Hundred gathered at the cemetery, where members of the military, veterans from the VFW Post 1463, American Legion Post 56, VFW and American Legion Auxiliaries and Sons of the American Legion marked Memorial Day with touching remembrances.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts placed flowers on the graves of war veterans, some from as long ago as the Civil War, many from World War II and Vietnam. As one young Scout placed a white carnation on the grave of Charles N. Derr, he noted that Derr was born in 1858 and died in 1935.
"I’m not sure what war he was in, but he served his country," said the boy as he carefully placed the flower on Derr’s grave.
A moving symbol of lives lost in war could be seen in the empty boots of the riderless horse led by a soldier attired in a Civil War uniform. The boots faced backward, in the tradition of the lone riderless horse that follow the caisson with boots reversed in the stirrups. Known as the "caparisoned horse," the horse represented a soldier who had died and would never ride again.
The Lititz service followed the 10:45 a.m. parade that had started at Warwick St. in Lititz Borough, making its way along N.Broad St., then along E.Main St. to the Moravian Church.
Rev. Victor Shifler gave the invocation, followed by William Stauffer singing a moving rendition of "America" and the Lititz Community Band playing patriotic songs. Bruce Hoover was dressed in a Civil War uniform as he read President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
First spoken by Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, there was great irony in the words, as well as timeless truth.
"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here," recited Hoover, "It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced."
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, "he continued, "that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." More ROTHSVILLE, page A16 More LITITZ, page A16