Ava Costa lays a wreath to honor those who died in the service of the country. More photos from the parade and ceremony are available here.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — War is expensive.
The Civil War cost the United States the lives of 500,000; in World War 1, 117,000; World War 2, 406,000; Korean War 54,000; Vietnam War, 90,0000; the Persian Gulf, 1,948; and the War on Terror more than 7,000.
"War is a very expensive operation in terms of lives. As many people who have relatives who have died in war know, it is not calculable in dollars. It is painful. It results in the destruction of families and family members and relationships," Selectman Robert Ericson said on Sunday when residents gathered at Center Cemetery to honor all of those who died in service to the nation.
Ericson reflected on that cost of war and said it is better to negotiate for peaceful resolutions than to bear it.
Mount Greylock Regional High School teacher Jeffrey Welch agreed. Welch was called on to substitute when his colleague, Andrew Gibson, was unable to give the keynote address. Welch detailed the history of Memorial Day.
It began after the Civil War by primarily Southern women. It was called Decoration Day, when the women would gather at the cemetery to decorate the graves of the men they had lost in the war. The holiday later became nationally recognized in 1971 as Memorial Day when people throughout the country will hold solemn ceremonies to honor those killed in service.
"It would have looked a lot different 100 years ago today because America was in the midst of the First World War, which is in an incredible moment for the United States. America was dragged into the war reluctantly. They thought they could stay out of World War I. In 1917, when President Wilson appeared before Congress, he told Congress and the nation and the world that it was a fearful thing to lead these great people into war. But, it was a war in which civilization itself seemed to hang in the balance," Welch said.
And in World War II had a similar feel but the United States and its allies had all agreed on a number of freedoms that they believed all people throughout the world should enjoy. But, as Ericson had said, Welch said the wars all come with costs.
"It comes at quite a cost and that is what we are here to remember today. No just the fact that all gave some but that some gave all so we could be here today in peace and freedom and in the rain to celebrate those who served our nation to the extent of giving their lives," Welch said.
Just after World War II, James Ostrander served in the Navy. On Sunday, he served as the parade's grand marshall. Ostrander joined the Navy in 1948 in Springfield. For three years and nine months, he served on the USS Coral Sea as a seaman first class. He joined SeaBees in May 1954 as a chief petty officer.
Around 50 residents braved a windy and rainy day to pay their respects. The ceremony at the cemetery also included Town Moderator Robert Reilly serving as emcee; the Rev. Noreen Suriner giving the opening prayer and benediction; the Mount Greylock High School band playing the national anthem; Ava Costa laying a wreath in honor of those killed in war; a rifle salute from the Dalton Rifle Team; and Lyndon Moors playing taps.
The ceremony had followed a parade featuring a number of community groups and town officials down Main Street from the Old Forge Restaurant to the cemetery.
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