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Fallen vets honored in Arlington
ARLINGTON Local veterans and their loved ones joined area scouts, students and other civilians on this year's observance of Memorial Day, May 26, to commemorate those military members who have given their lives in service to their country.
This year's Memorial Day began at 6 a.m. for the city of Arlington, when members of Arlington American Legion Post 76 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1561 gathered with volunteers from the community to hang flags along Memorial Way.
After a procession of boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, high school musicians, World War II veterans and police vehicles kicked off the day's events with a street parade through downtown Arlington starting at 10 a.m., the Arlington Cemetery hosted an 11 a.m. ceremony to honor the nation's fallen veterans.
The Arlington High School Marching Band provided music for the event, and following the posting of the colors at the cemetery, Jay Lorenz, best known as OIC of Naval Radio Station Jim Creek in Arlington, acted as keynote speaker for the service.
"It's great to see so many kids here," Lorenz said. "As parents and grandparents, that's a testament to you. How can we instill in future generations the importance of this day? Perhaps we should use this day to gather together our friends, families and communities, turn off our cell phones and iPods, unplug the Xboxes and simply spend time together, to have our veterans share their stories."
William Kielty served in the Navy from 1945-1947. Like Lorenz, he was heartened by the sight of so many young people in attendance.
"It's so great," Kielty said. "I appreciate them being here. Of the young people who were in high school when I was, a lot of them were lost in war, and several more came back wounded."
Kielty nearly joined his fallen peers when his ship, USS Henrico, took a starboard side blow from a kamikaze pilot. Fortunately for Kielty, he was serving temporary beach duty at the time, but close to 40 of his shipmates died. He and his fellow surviving shipmates attend reunions every two years, but for them, time is now taking care of what the war could not.
"There's not too many of us left," Kielty said. "I miss the camaraderie."
Michael Cox made a significant sacrifice of his own in the service, and like Kielty, he feels strongly about honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by so many other service members. Cox served as a Marine from 1965-1971, and lost his leg in Vietnam July 4, 1967.
"You couldn't pick a more patriotic date," Cox said. "I was wounded twice in 10 months of combat. I lost a lot of good friends over there. Those who went before us gave us the country we have now, and those who are serving now are keeping it this way.
"The biggest change was that I made it out of there taking Jesus as my savior," said Cox, who also praised his wife of 45 years, Nancy, for staying by his side during his recuperation.