‘We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.’
Taps on trumpets and the National Anthem echoed across the Centralia’s north side the evening of May 30.
That was when more than 100 people gathered at the north end of the Centralia City Cemetery for Centralia VFW Post 6276’s annual Memorial Day commemoration.
Steve Hann, VFW post commander acted as master of ceremonies.
After Kylee Motley sang the Star-Spangled Banner and members of Centralia Cub Scout Pack 90 and Boy Scout Troop 90 led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, he introduced keynote speaker Col. Abby Kent – a 23-year veteran of the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserve.
Kent, a member of the Centralia High School Class of 1996, spoke about the work and sacrifices “of those heroes who went ahead of us.”
The nation’s greatness, she said as the flags fluttered and whipped in the east breeze, is a result of the sacrifice of the heroes who were before us. Their legacy is woven in and around mid-Missouri and their families, especially here today, in a beautifully-celebrated field that pays tribute to our local heroes.
She said she left Centralia with a desire to work and do something for her country.
“I humbly stand before you now with thousands of flight hours, combat time, deployment and a career of service that is not yet over. But I have a perspective that is infinitely different than the one I had 27 years ago when I left.”
She quoted President Abraham Lincoln’ request that the country remember.
“He said it best at the Gettysburg Cemetery: ‘The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here. But it can never forget what they did here. It is rather for us to remain dedicated to the great path remaining before us. That from these honored dead,’
At that point, the public-address system died.
For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.