Staff Sergeant Lyle Ellis shook hands with members of the public who came up and spoke to him after his moving speech.
Staff Sergeant Lyle Ellis shook hands with members of the public who came up and spoke to him after his moving speech.
For the first time in at least a dozen years, the Memorial Day service on May 27 was held in the high school gymnasium due to cold, rainy conditions. There was no parade but many members of the public quietly assembled with Legion Post and Auxiliary members to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in honor of this country.

Staff Sergeant Lyle Ellis was this year's guest speaker. He spoke of courage and service, but more importantly the sacrifice that our military members and their families make, willingly.

"It is staggering to consider the sacrifices made by our military," he explained. "Their courage and sacrifice knows no bounds. It allows us to be free, to live our lives well."

He listed off the causalities and deaths seen in the conflicts since and including World War II, which totaled over 496,000 including the 3,221 deaths in Afghanistan through May 14.

He teared up as he recalled the 2,045 death in that conflict. It was his grandson, a Marine that gave the ultimate sacrifice on April 5, 2012.

"Thank God they didn't all die (in service to our country). Many of these men and women came home and lived good, honorable lives. They teach us all how to be good citizens, live moral lives."

He spoke of his service at Arlington National Cemetery, "It was my most enjoyable time (in the military)."

He recalled a Memorial Day when he walked to the oldest part of the grounds to pay his respects to those that are buried there.

"No one visits those World War I and Civil War veterans; their families have passed on. It was so peaceful back there. It felt as if they knew I was there."

He called it a very moving experience to walk among those early veterans.

"Thank you to all who have served. Thank your brother, sister, parents, grandparents... those who have served this great country.

"Thank them for the opportunities you have today and everyday in this country!"

Second Vice Commander Fordyce Brevig read the "Roll Call" - a listing of those from this area that gave the ultimate sacrifice during wartime or served in our military and have now passed on. He pointed out, "We could replace all of the citizens of Spring Grove with this list."

The members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts assisted Legion members with the ceremony and the Spring Grove High School band played two selections.