JACKSON TWP. — More than two dozen area residents took time from their holiday weekend on Saturday to honor area veterans who paid the ultimate price as the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department held its annual Memorial Day ceremony.
A wreath laying and presentation of the colors were held at the department’s headquarters on Chase Road. Eight firefighters from the department stood at attention while the police blocked off the portion of Chase Road. The program, which also honored deceased members of the fire department, lasted about 30 minutes
“We forget the sacrifices veterans made,” The Rev. Thom Morris said after delivering the opening prayer.
Morris, a Vietnam veteran and pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ, also delivered the benediction.
Stating that “war is sometimes necessary,” Morris said that veterans are individuals “who wrote out blank checks to the U.S. government up to and including their lives.”
“It sounds crazy having to go to war for world peace,” Morris said during his prayer. He also hoped that people won’t forget our service men and woman are currently fighting three wars — the wars against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS.
Morris believes that “all (veterans) carry scars” and not enough respect is paid to them.
Jackson Township first started holding Memorial Day ceremonies in 1948, according to retired Lt. Col. Duncan MacMullen, who has been organizing the event since 2010. MacMullen is a Lehigh Valley native, but retired to Jackson Township.
“For me, it’s quite an honor,” said the former U.S. Army ordnance officer, who served tours in Iraq and Kuwait. “I was flabbergasted, but I enjoy doing the (Memorial Day) thing.”
Hannah Kasko, a ninth-grader at Lake-Lehman, sang the national anthem after members of Boy Scout Troop 146 from Shavertown raised the American flag.
Brianna London and Cheyanna Snyder, both 10 and members of Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA Brownie Troop 30151 from Dallas, accompanied Morris to lay a red, white and blue wreath at the “Lest We Forget” memorial stone. London and Snyder also led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Both girls have been assisting in the ceremony for a few years and said they consider it an “honor.”
Snyder said she does it in honor of her grandfather, retired Col. Daniel Wells, who served his country for 29 years.
A band, consisting of Lake-Lehman High School band members and alumni, provided patriotic music.
Collin MacMullen, an 11th-grader at Lake-Lehman, and Matthew Miller, a Wilkes student, played “Taps” after the Jackson Township Fire and Rescue Service roll call. Robbie Lauer, a member of the Troop 146, pulled a bell, which honored the fallen of the fire department.
A short reception organized by the spouses and families of the firefighters was held after the ceremony.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko