Cedar Key remembered the soldiers lost in its defense in a stirring Memorial Day ceremony Sunday at the cemetery.
Hosts Ivan Chubb, of the Tri-County Marine Corps League Post 1018, and Cedar Key's Patty Steve, mother of the late U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, killed in Iraq in 2003, addressed the 50-some attendees, asking them to always remember the cost of America's freedom.
Afterward, Steve said misunderstanding the cost of freedom has grown worse over generations.
"All I ever knew about was Vietnam," she said. "Today's young people don't know the history of why they have so much freedom. It took a lot of blood to win our freedom, and it may take a lot more to keep it. That's why I'm proud of these organizations that show up for these ceremonies, and help keep alive the memories of our fallen heroes."
Rev. David Binkley, pastor of Cedar Key Church of Christ, was scheduled to give the invocation, but ended up being the speaker when MCL Commandant Robert Lowyns was unable to attend. He spoke of his own service in the Navy and the importance of communicating the sacrifices of servicemen and women to the young people of the community. Binkley said he encouraged his grandson to walk around and talk to the veterans present to learn their stories. He did, and met Col. Harvey Hampden, recipient of four Purple Hearts.
Binkley read the poem "In Flanders Field" by Lt. Col. John McCrae, a physician who served in the Canadian Army and was at the terrible battle of Ypres in World War I. Binkley asked listeners to think of the poem as a call to honor the sacrifices of servicemen and women by taking part in the democracy preserved by their efforts.
"I invite you to participate in this great country that we, and they, love so much," he said.
Besides these stirring thoughts, the MCL rifle squad fired a 21-gun salute, Sandy McQuitty played "God Bless America" as those assembled sang along, and the MCL color guard presented the flag and set it at half-staff. Col. Hampden, also of MCL 1018, played Taps on the bugle to close the ceremony.