Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe
POST COMMANDERS John Ruditis, VFW Post 3673, Russ Johnson, American Legion Post 27, and Marcus Re, Sons of the American Legion, and Gerri Burt, American Legion auxiliary president, place a wreath at the memorial site during Bessemer's Memorial Day ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery on Monday.
BESSEMER - Residents gathered at Hillcrest Cemetery on Monday to honor the nation's service members during a ceremony hosted by the Bessemer VFW Post 3673 and the American Legion Post 27.
The event began with the U.S. flag being raised and the A.D. Johnston High School Band performing the "Star Spangled Banner," under the direction of Stephen Boniface.
Mary Ann Bolich, a Watersmeet graduate who served with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War in 1966 and '67, gave the ceremony's main address.
"Since the dawn of our nation, men and women from all walks of life have given their lives in this nation's defense so that we could live ours under a blanket of freedom," Bolich said. "Through their sacrifices, we as a nation have emerged as a world superpower, envied the world over for the freedoms which our citizens enjoy."
Bolich went on to stress the "monumental responsibility" of U.S. service members to protect these freedoms throughout times of economic peril, political strife and worldwide uncertainty.
"It is imperative in today's fast-paced technological world that we the beneficiaries of their selfless sacrifices take a moment to stop and reflect upon what they have given us," she said. "They, the fallen, deserve out respect and thanks, but most importantly they deserve to be honored not only today, but every day."
A wreath was placed at the memorial site and an honor salute, performed by a veteran firing squad under the command of Irv Mattson, sounded off three shots into the morning's blue sky.
Trumpeters Myron and Marcus Re performed Taps with Echo, and father Antony Lukka offered the ceremony's invocation and benediction.