Salem native Bob Sebo told community members Monday morning that the strength of the country depends on the values of its citizens, sharing his message with those attending the Salem Memorial and Patriotic Association's Memorial Day service in Grandview Cemetery.
"Since the beginning of recorded history, civilizations have risen and fallen on the attitudes of people, be it positive or negative," he said.
Sebo said it is critically important to never allow events such as Pearl Harbor, JFK's assassination and FDR's "a date which will live in infamy" speech before U.S. involvement in World War II to fade from history books and memories, and to realize that Adolph Hitler's philosophies fought against in WWII live on in racism, ethnic hatred, extreme nationalism, state-organized murders and anti-semitic websites.
Shown are photos from the Memorial Day parade and service held Monday. (Salem News photos by Alexa Carson, Cady Wilson and Kevin Howell)
He said the country needs to avoid the pattern leading from abundance to bondage that will repeat itself unless citizens are aware of it and leaders are willing to make a commitment.
"As one who served his country, I challenge you, my fellow veterans, to recognize that never before in the history of the world has a race of people, we Americans, been more affluent, better educated, more service oriented, better traveled, more indulged," he said "And yet never have we needed to put more emphasis on any one single item, activity or function like we do that of God, country and patriotism."
Mark Daniel served as president of the day and Rodney "Hank" Allenbaugh and Bill Galchick the honorary parade marshals. Allenbaugh served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 through 1954, including a tour in Korea. Galchick was drafted in April 1943 and served with the U.S. Army Air Forces 467th Bomb Group, a B-24 Liberator Group stationed in England, and then with the U.S. Army 104th Medical Battalion, 29th Infantry Division in Germany before being processed out of the Army in 1946.
Buckeye Girls State delegate Emma Wilson recited "The Gettysburg Address." Buckeye Girls State delegate Shyanne Zitkovic offered the response to "In Flanders Field." Buckeye Girls State delegate Emma Janofa recited "What is a Veteran?" Girls State delegate Cassandra Wood recited "Freedom's Memorial."
The Salem High School band performed two selections while the the chamber choir sang "In Flanders Field."
Salem High School buglers Mike Popa and Dylan McKinney performed "Taps." Joe MacBenn offered a rendition of "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.
Mayor John Berlin placed a wreath on the simulated grave of a soldier lined by Daryl Emelo, commander of American Legion Post 56; Jim Baker, commander of AMVETS Post 45; Tammy Sheppard, auxiliary president of AMVETS Post 45; Doug Brandon of VFW Post 892; Liz Libert, women's auxiliary president of VFW Post 892; Tom Scahill, commander of the Columbiana County Vietnam Veterans; Luois Huyghe, commander of Disabled Veterans; Cpt. Bill Smith, Sons of the Union Veterans; Lester Sheperd, Sons of the Amvets; and Ray Steffan, men's auxiliary of VFW Post 892.