The first thing they did upon arriving at the cemetery Monday was pay their respects to their relatives who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“We’re here because of them,” Doll Koons said. “And the ones that sacrificed that we could be here — it’s an honor.”
Ron Koons served in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s and their son, Matthew, served in Korea.
“We have quite a history of people in the family who were veterans,” Ron Koons said. “So being here means something (to us).”
Betty and Nick Walsnovich, also of Greencastle, tried to find a little shade under a large umbrella.
“We’ve been coming for a good many years,” Betty Walsnovich said.
Both of her late husbands served in World War II, and her son and stepson served in Vietnam. Her granddaughter served in Iraq.
She’d like to see more people attend Greencastle’s Memorial Day service.
“These fellows died for our freedom, and we should remember them,” Nick Walsnovich said.
As the parade traveled more than a mile from Allison Street to the cemetery off Pa. 16, hundreds of people stood along the parade route waving tiny American flags and saluting.
At 11 a.m., the Greencastle Memorial Day service began with a prayer of invocation by Pastor Vic Miller of Greencastle Foursquare Gospel Church.
Duane Schroyer, commander of VFW Post 6319 in Greencastle, said Memorial Day is about remembering the sacrifices of those who gave their all.
“Far too often the nation as a whole takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That’s why they are collectively remembered on one special day — Memorial Day,” Schroyer said.
He said much is owed to the more than 6,400 Americans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, reconized the lives of three Franklin County soldiers who paid the ultimate price during combat in the war on terrorism.
Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, who was raised in Mont Alto, Pa., enlisted right after 9/11.
“He was the first soldier to die in Franklin County in Iraq,” Rock said. “He was only 23 years old. He died fighting for his country.”
“Sgt. Richard Tieman lived in Waynesboro (Pa.) on Grant Street. He was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. He was newly married,” Rock said. “He had two months to go in Iraq. He died for the freedoms we enjoy every day.”