Hellertown American Legion Post 397 held its annual Veterans Day ceremony in Union Cemetery Wednesday, with dozens of veterans, family members, friends and local residents gathering to honor the service and sacrifice members of the U.S. military make.
Legion commander Eric Medei noted that the ceremony would recognize both veterans who served and those “who never made it back.” Those who served and were present were asked to raise their hands as different branches of the military were recognized.
Hellertown mayor David Heintzelman said the day that celebrates the brotherhood forged by members of the military should also serve as a reminder to all Americans that we need to work as a team, especially now, in the wake of a divisive election and amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can do better,” he noted. “Let us bring that brotherhood into our broken country, state and community.”
Lower Saucon Township resident Jim King–who served as a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps–was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
He reflected on the solidarity that being a Marine afforded him, and what it meant to him.
“I found something bigger than I ever could have imagined,” he said. “That’s the brotherhood, the sisterhood, that the Marine Corps and the military provide.”
“The welfare of the nation is greater than any individual,” King continued.
He concluded his remarks by quoting President John F. Kennedy, who once said that “the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
“I don’t want your thoughts and prayers,” King said. “I want something tangible.”
The other quote King shared is by U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who said that “if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
The ceremony concluded with the laying of a floral wreath at the veterans memorial in the cemetery by Legion Ladies Auxiliary president Connie Quier, the playing of “Taps” by Tommy King, the firing of rifles by the Legion honor guard and a benediction by Medei.
All veterans who were present, along with their family members, were then invited to attend a Veterans Day luncheon at the American Legion post on Main Street.
Performing patriotic music at the ceremony were the members of the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Community Chorus.
Volunteers from Hellertown’s Dewey Fire Company and Lower Saucon Fire Rescue brought their trucks to the cemetery for the event, where a Lower Saucon ladder truck was used to display a large American flag high above Main Street.
Photos by Chris Christian