Eva Myers performed the wreath laying.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town's residents joined together for a parade and ceremony on Sunday to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the country.
"The true meaning of war is never good. People will die. People will get maimed. People will end up in cemeteries like this," said Selectman Robert Ericson, overlooking the nearly hundred citizens who gathered at Village Cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony.
Ericson said citizens have chosen to join the armed forces for many different reasons. But, those who served in a war experienced "hell" to protect the county, he said.
While serving in a war may come with some honor, it is mostly pain, Ericson said.
Many of those who went to fight on behalf of the country did so by choice, they were people drawn toward public service, said American Legion Post 446 Cmdr. George Himmel, who served as the keynote speaker.
In rural New England, he said, 36 percent of the population volunteers in the public service realm. And Lanesborough is no different, from the Fire Department to Cub Scouts to the musical bands marching in Sunday's parade, he said. It is that service that draws the townspeople together as a community.
"Our veterans have protected our neighbors," he said.
Some of those neighbors volunteered for the service, so when they return, Himmel is calling on the town to take care of them as they assimilate back into the community.
"We need to be here for the latest wave of veterans as they return from very distant battlefields," he said.
That experience is one the parade's grand marshal went through. At age 18, George Johnston was sent overseas to fight in World War II. Then he returned to Lanesborough, where he farmed the rest of his life.
The ceremony, following a parade down Main Street, also featured the Mount Greylock Regional School band; the Lanesborough Elementary School chorus; a wreath laying by Eve Myers; a rifle salute from the Dalton Rifle Team, playing of taps from Lyndon Moors and prayer and the benediction from the Rev. Noreen Suriner of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.