For a nation at war and still reeling over the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington on Sept. 11 of last year, Memorial Day, to be observed next Monday, May 27 has new meaning.
And in Herndon, even more so as the Veteran’s Memorial will be dedicated.
The annual 10 a.m. service at the Chestnut Grove Cemetery on Monday, May 27, will be followed at 3 p.m. by a dedication ceremony on the Herndon Town Green of the Veteran’s Memorial. At the cemetery service, the Star Spangled Banner will be sung by Town Councilman and retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Harlon Reece. Fellow councilman Dennis Husch, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Army, will deliver the annual speech to mark the importance of the day.
"IT’S A DUTY. I came back and lots of folks did not come back," said Husch, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. "This is very important to me. It’s an important responsibility. I will try to bring the Memorial Day message home — an appreciation for those who did not come back from my war, for their families, for those who did come back and the trials and tribulations they endured returning home," said Husch, a charter member of American Legion Post #184.
The Herndon High School NJROTC color guard will also participate in the service, said Herndon resident Jack Hickson, active with Post #184 and a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Hickson also said flags would be planted at the graves of veterans at Chestnut Grove on Friday, May 24 at 10 a.m. by members of both the American Legion as well as the NJROTC.
For the 3 p.m. ceremony at the Town Green for the dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial, the Third U.S. Infantry of the Army will serve as the color guard. "This is the presidential guard — the ‘Old Guard.’ They couldn’t have provided us a better color guard. The National Guard from Leesburg will fire a salute and the Old Guard furnished a bugler to play Taps," said Hickson, noting that the speaker at that dedication will be Lt. Gen. John M. Riggs.
"THE IMPORTANCE of the memorial is that it honors those who made the sacrifice for the freedoms we all too often take for granted. That has changed somewhat since Sept. 11," said Reece. "Take the time to reflect on these freedoms and that they don’t come without a cost."
"People should come and pay their respects for those who died for their country," said Hickson. "It’s a memorial for veterans of all wars." Herndon resident Linda Buckley, a nurse during Vietnam will help with the unveiling of the memorial as a representative of female veterans, said Hickson.
"It’s a wonderful idea to honor the women as well — entirely fitting. By the time I left the Marine Corps some of our best Marines were women," said Reece.
"I’m honored that in my term of mayor I will have the opportunity to participate and to represent the town. The American legion worked long and hard to make it a wonderful day," said Herndon mayor Carol Bruce.
The Memorial Day service will take place at 10 a.m. at the Chestnut Grove Cemetery and the Veteran’s Memorial dedication will take place at the Town Green at 3 p.m. Both events will take place on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.