Military honored at Sunday observance

PRUNTYTOWN—The scene at the West Virginia National Cemetery Sunday was reverent and serene.  With the sun shining and the Taylor County Middle School Band playing, the tone for was set for a beautiful afternoon.

Keith Barnes, Director of West Virginia and Grafton National Cemeteries, acted as Master of Ceremonies. 

“On this day of reflection, at this sacred place, we honor great deeds, achievements and personal fortitude,” said Barnes of the day.

Frank Cooley, Commander of the American Legion, traveled from southern West Virginia to be there. 

Commander Cooley told the crowd, “These heroes are not exclusive from any gender, race or religion.  They are a diverse group webbed together to a common principle that America is a nation worth dying for.”

Following Commander Cooley’s address, there was a lovely performance of the National Anthem and Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones by the Taylor County–All County Chorus. 

Miss River Sipes, read her winning essay “They Did Their Part with a Brave Heart”. 

In conclusion Sipes said, “Our country should show them respect.  Every time you see, red, white and blue you should be proud and thankful.  The next time you look at a national cemetery grave, think about and thank a fallen soldier.”

Douglas Flohr, Colonel United States Army, Retired, was the main speaker for the ceremony. 

Flohr’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with Oak leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge and the Master Parachutist’s badge. 

Flohr spoke to the true meaning of Memorial Day and his love for his home state saying, “West Virginia is a tough environment and it produces tough people.  Mountaineers make great soldiers, sailors, airmen and even great Coast Guardsmen.”

The afternoon was wrapped up a with a touching Memorial Salute by the Taylor County Honor Guard, Taps and Echo by Madison Minard and Sierra Walls and the benediction by Chaplin, Randy Jennings.