~ PVN staff report
LURAY, May 30 — Nearly 100 gathered in front of the Page County Courthouse on Monday morning to pay respect to members of the military who gave their lives to secure our nation’s freedom.
“It is not about us as veterans, but for those who did not return home,” said Butch Fleharty, life member and past post commander of the Comer-Jones VFW Post 621 in Luray.
The crowd sat facing the Page County War Memorial, where a wreath was laid and songs were song. Students from Mount Carmel Christian Academy gave several presentations during the half-hour service, from their rifle drill team to their choir, and from an inspirational reading to recognition of each branch of the military.
“Let us rededicate ourselves to this vital endeavor,” a presenter said as he explained the meaning of the empty chair in front of the flags, representing America’s soldiers who are listed as either Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA).
As explanation was also given for the boots, helmet and gun that accompany a white “field cross” that marks a soldier killed “in the field.”
Luray’s VFW Post 621 and American Legion Post 22, who hosted the event, also took a moment to recognize a veteran in attendance — Sgt. Glenn Ottoman, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, who lost 13 comrades from the USMC, Navy and Army during an operation in Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021.
While no long speeches cluttered the event, the message of the day remained about remembrance. That message carried from song to prayer, from readings to anthems, and from smiles to tears.
An older man, who only moments before had been still, shook as he saluted during the playing of Taps.
See our PHOTO GALLERY for images of performances by Mount Carmel Christian Academy students
at Monday’s Memorial Day service at the Page County Courthouse.