On Monday, May 28, local residents and public officials gathered for the annual American Legion McLean Post 270 Memorial Day service at the McLean High School Memorial Grove. The ceremony went very much as it has in years past — Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34) gave his traditional reading of the war poem “Flanders Fields,” remarks were made by Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois and Dranesville District School Board member Jane Strauss, and attendees sang “God Bless America” and paid respects to the millions of American servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty. There was one change from last year — since Memorial Day, 2006, an additional 1,000 U.S. soldiers have lost their lives in the Iraq war.
“Since 1775, over 43 million men and women have served in our armed forces,” said Jay Edwards, commander of American Legion McLean Post 270. “Today, we honor those who have died.”
Strauss urged those present to also keep the young American men and women serving in the Middle East right now in their thoughts and prayers.
“We have young people serving in Iraq today,” said Strauss. “Scott Clendaniel, the son of our Langley High School principal Bill Clendaniel, will be going back for a third time … he’s chosen to do so … we must realize that every one of those young men and women was with us, and are with us. They have husbands and wives and children, and they are just like us.”
Edwards closed Monday’s ceremony with his thoughts on the current situation in the Middle East. He prefaced his comments by noting that they were not “political talk,” but “memorial talk.”
“Most of us are uneasy about what’s going on in Iraq, and many of us feel like mistakes have been made,” said Edwards. “Let us demand of our leaders — no matter what their political party — that they be Americans first, and demand that they come up with better solutions.”