Since 1947, the Manchester War Memorial on York Street has stood as a silent sentry to pay tribute to Manchester's sons and daughters who have gone off to fight our nation's wars.
At the Manchester Veterans Day observances last Sunday at a building long-known as the "Memorial Building," Mike Rourke read off the names of Trent A. May, Mark K. Schultz, Darvin G. Therit, E. Dean Therit, and Joe Yelton to be added to the bronze and stone monument that has stood guard in front of the Manchester town hall for generations.
As a brisk, steady breeze caused the flags to ruffle and snap, last Sunday's observances began with a welcome by Ray Badders, a member of the Manchester War Memorial Committee, and an invocation by the Rev. Dave Scafide, pastor of the Manchester Baptist Church.
Sirens from the Fire Department building next door punctuated the ceremonies along with several musical selections by the Manchester Valley High School Ensemble.
The keynote speaker was historian and state Sen. Joe Getty, whose father, J. Frank Getty, served as mayor of Manchester from 1963 to 1967.
"Those of us who grew up in Manchester used to walk past this monument every day when the post office was in the Memorial Building," Joe Getty said.
"I can remember as a child stopping to study the memorial, rubbing my fingers across the names on the brass plaque, looking at the last names for those who might be parents and grandparents of my playmates in town or classmates in school, and looking at the stars marking those who died in defense of their country — wondering how their life might have been different if they had returned to Manchester after the war. …
"Those Manchester residents that we honor today are part of a long and continuing tradition of service from our community. We are now in the midst of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The Manchester militia — the forebears to the military personnel that we recognize on this monument — were mustered into service twice in the defense of Baltimore. …
"Our native sons and forebears to the names on our memorial also served in the Civil War," he said.
Getty observed that the Manchester War Memorial "is where Manchester remembers. …
"The War Memorial stands in silent gratitude to all of our local citizens that have served. It contains many, many names, showing how our community has remained steadfast in its patriotism and love for the United States."
When he is not hanging out with Manchester's appointed officials, Steve Miller and Kelly Baldwin, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.