A slight drizzle fell preventing the members of the American Legion Wayne M. Kidwell Post 184 from displaying the 29 veteran casket flags along the traditional Avenue of Flags at Chestnut Grove Cemetery Monday for the annual Memorial Day Observance; however, it did not stop the more than 50 people who gathered to pay respects to the veterans who gave their lives while serving their country.
Among those at the cemetery were family members of Herndon High graduate and U.S. Coast Guardsman Nathan Bruckenthal, who was killed in a suicide attack in Iraq in April. After the observance ceremony, a tree was planted in his honor.
"I thought it was really nice, really special," said Noabeth Bruckenthal, Nathan's sister. "You see how tight this community is, that the local people would find it important to come out here and stand in the rain for 45 minutes. It's a beautiful tree."
"It was uplifting. It was really thoughtful," added John Mirtallo, who is engaged to Bruckenthal's mother, Laurie Bullock, who also attended the service.
The ceremony included an innovation and benediction by the Post's chaplain, the laying of the memorial wreaths and inspirational words from guest speaker, Sgt. Major Wilfred Green, Herndon High's Junior NROTC guidance counselor.
"Today is a day of heroes. To remember their sacrifices and deeds," Green said.
He also went on to speak about Bruckenthal, who as a 1997 graduate, knew Green.
"If he saw someone in need, he was there to help," Green said.
After the laying of the wreathes, the chaplain, Dmytro Andriuk, closed the ceremony by saying, "Hallow their graves and give comfort to those who loved them. É"