Mike Michael had a busy Memorial Day weekend. After coaching a soccer tournament in Virginia Beach, he and his family climbed in their car early Monday morning to make it back to McLean in time for the annual American Legion Post 270 Memorial Day ceremony at McLean High School.
"We high-tailed it up here ad pulled into the parking lot at 12:10 — that's how important this is," said Michael, whose sons play for the Post 270 baseball team.
The service was held at 12:30 p.m. on Memorial Day at Memorial Grove. The event was well attended and featured local political officials such as Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34), Sen. Janet Howell (D-32), Delegate James Scott (D-53), Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois and Fairfax County School Board member for the Dranesville District Jane Strauss.
Howell held up a page from the Washington Post that showed pictures of all the U.S. soldiers that have died in Afghanistan.
"This is the face of America," said Howell. "We have people making huge sacrifices for us right now in every part of the world, and I want to thank them and their families."
Jane Strauss discussed the importance of teaching strong moral and ethical values to students "so that when duty calls they will be willing to raise their hands high, and maybe give the ultimate sacrifice."
Resident Evelyn Fox remembered Major William F. Hecker, III, a close family friend who was killed in action in Iraq on Jan. 5. Talking about Hecker, a graduate of McLean High School, Fox broke down into tears.
"He was a very fine man," said Fox. "He was a soldier and a scholar and his mother is very active in the McLean community... he left behind four children and a wife, and we hope that they will come to McLean and make it their home."
Jack McMahon, a member of American Legion Post 270, helped to organize Monday's service.
"This is a heartfelt ceremony for all of us and we all respect those families who have to live without their offspring or family members because of the current situation," said McMahon.
Bob Brown, Athletic Officer and Coach of the American Legion Post 270 baseball team, said that he was proud of the fact that his team members always attend the Memorial Day service.
"We don't make them come out," said Brown. "We ask them to and they come."
His son, 16-year-old Matthew Brunner-Brown is a sophomore at McLean High School and also plays on the Post 270 team.
"I think Memorial Day is about honoring all of the veterans and people serving now, and the people who have to fight for our freedom," said Brunner-Brown.
McLean High School sophomore Stephen Moser, 16, played the bugle at the event.
"I think it's important to have Memorial Day because I think a lot of people don't appreciate or don't realize what these soldiers are doing for our country," said Moser.