SMETHPORT (EC) — Steve Appleby, director of the World War II Museum in Eldred, spoke Sunday afternoon in the rain-shortened McKean-Cameron Bi-County American Legion's Memorial Day exercises on the steps of the McKean County Courthouse in Smethport.
"We veterans know that Memorial Day is when we honor the deceased members of the armed forces from the nation's wars,” Appleby said. “Veterans Day is in November when we pay tribute to all veterans."
Then turning his attention to the younger members of the audience, and especially the musicians in the Smethport Area High School Band, Appleby urged them to remember and appreciate the sacrifices the nation’s veterans have made to keep the nation free because they will soon face the same task.
“You are our hope for the future," he said, in encouraging them to reach their full potential.
The band, under the direction of Matt Bailey, played several selections, including the "Star-Spangled Banner." Band members Alec Morgan played "Taps," and Alex Knapp played the echo.
U.S. Army veteran Paul Swanson was in charge of the veterans' memorial rifle squad from Mount Jewett.
Pat Meisowitz, commander of the American Legion Bucktail Post #138 in Smethport, placed the wreath at the McKean-Cameron Bi-County American Legion's memorial marker on the west lawn of the courthouse.
Units participating in the ceremony came from American Legion posts 108, 138, 489, 574, 887 and 976.
Commenting on the posts' representation at the event, Matt Windsor, McKean County director of Veteran Affairs and Bi-County commander, said, "What an awesome sight to see the U.S. flag and the posts' colors!"