The City of Valparaiso, the Parks Department and the Parks Foundation hosted a Memorial Holiday event at the at the Service Memorial at Foundation Meadows in Valparaiso on Friday morning.
Firemen and policemen lined up their vehicles and a huge American flag waved nobly over the proceedings. Guests gathered and sat in the morning sun and watched as the Valparaiso Police Department Color Guard posted the colors.
The Service Memorial was created in 2003 as a way to commemorate acts of service and selflessness from our men and women in the armed forces. The monuments that stand at the Service Memorial represent Friends, Hope, and Charity. Names of local men and women who served our country are written on the middle monument in commemoration.
"On this Memorial Day weekend it is appropriate that we take time to honor and recognize those that have served and given their lives for us,"Valparaiso Parks and Recreation Director John Seibert said.
Valparaiso High School seniors Ricardo Rosario, US Naval Academy appointee, and Andrew Antonetti, US Air Force Academy appointee, spoke at the ceremony about their future in the military.
"I like to begin by thanking my family, teachers, and friends. Without them I wouldn't be able to achieve what I'm achieving today. I also want to thank the Valparaiso Parks Department for allowing me to speak. It's an honor to be here among servicemen who have served in the military and the police and fire departments. I look forward to serving our country in the years to come," Rosario said.
"I would like to thank my family, friends, and community for supporting our armed forces. I am truly humbled and grateful that I have the opportunity to speak on behalf of all of the past, current, and future members of our armed forces. Throughout my short life, my experiences have taught me a few things about what it means to live with honor, integrity and responsibility," Antonetti said. "It's these values that I have tried to live my life by and these values that have largely shaped what I plan to do with my future. In my opinion, the best thing one can do in remembrance of others is to continue living the way that they did with the lessons they taught."
John Wolf, one of the youngest Navy Chaplains to serve in WWII, was in attendance at the ceremony. Wolf is a retired United Methodist pastor, and he holds those who serve the United States close to his heart.
"There have been millions of men and women who have given their lives serving our country. They make this day possible with their sacrifice," Wolf stated.
Wolf ended with the Benediction and prayer, and then Miguel Rosario, Director of Bands at VHS, concluded the ceremony by playing "Taps".