A slow, steady breeze blew through Roselawn Memorial Park on Sunday, rustling flags and nearby wind chimes during the cemetery’s Memorial Day service.
The early-afternoon service, sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2205 and its Ladies Auxiliary, carried the same mission as every Memorial Day service held annually in Denton and across the country.
“We owe these guys our respect and support and to not forget,” Post 2205 commander Wayne Trevathan said. “And help people remember that freedom is not free.”
Trevathan led the ceremony, held in a gazebo packed with veterans, family and friends in Roselawn’s Garden of Reflection.
After a prayer and remarks from Trevathan, flowers were placed on a table draped with the American flag. The flowers represent purity, heroism and other traits of veterans, officials said. The final item placed was a flag by Trevathan.
Keynote speaker for the service was Virgil Aldag, a Purple Heart recipient who served in the Army’s 25th Infantry Division in 1967 and 1968.
He told the people gathered that he tried to change things up and not give a canned Memorial Day message. But, he added, some things needed to be said.
Aldag gave a brief rundown of the history and evolution of Memorial Day and noted that all too often people get caught up in the business, barbecues and other activities of the three-day holiday weekend.
“[Of] the many occupations, nothing is more difficult than the path of a warrior. It requires courage, commitment and resilience,” Aldag said. “While politics and public opinion ebb and flow, people need not forget the sacrifices and, in many cases, the ultimate sacrifice men and women have made in their service to the country over the years.
“May they rest in peace knowing we remember the jobs they did.”
Following the service, Jason Mason, a former Marine staff sergeant, said the service reminds people that there are vets out there among them and they should do their best to help take care of them when they return home. Mason placed flowers representing heroism during the ceremony.
Looking over the crowd socializing after the ceremony, Aldag noted that he was glad to see many children and young people among them.
Through his daughter being a teacher, Aldag said he has seen firsthand the importance of educating children. The memorial service and the historical details he shared could be a start, he said.
“Too many don’t know the sacrifices being made right now,” Aldag said. “I’m hoping by giving them the details that they can share that tidbit with their children and their children’s children and they remember.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.