No veteran is ever forgotten
By Marilyn Forbes
Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Every month there are veterans who pass away who are not given any type of military recognition. Many don't have family or friends to make sure they receive the honorable distinction.
On the first Wednesday of every month, the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies holds a special service to honor veterans who have passed and were buried in the cemetery over the past month, making sure that all are recognized as the heroes that they were.
“This was something that was started when the cemetery was first opened,” said cemetery director Ronald Hestdalen. “Not every veteran receives military honors at the time of their interment and we wanted to make sure that they received the honor that they deserve.”
The short program is usually held in one of the cemetery's small chapels. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders are present — rain, shine or snow.
“We've been doing this now for several years,” said Patriot Guard Riders Pennsylvania State Captain Barry Bioni. “We do this out of gratitude and respect and honor. We enjoy coming here every month to support this ceremony.”
Those in attendance form a semi-circle in the chapel, each holding a flag.
The names of the veterans buried in the cemetery over the past month are read and a bell is then sounded after each name is recited.
At the end of the ceremony each month, veteran and Patriot Guard member Ray Zimmerman of Kecksburg sounds taps.
“We come here every month to honor the heroes who don't have families or the ones who never received any type of military honors,” Zimmerman said. “They deserve to receive the same military honor and recognition that all of our brothers and sisters receive. It's an honor to be a part of this every month to do this for them.”
Members of the Marine Corps League also take part in the program. Hestdalen said that everyone and anyone is welcome to join in the service.
“We have people come from all over the area,” Hestdalen said. “It's open to the public and we would love to see more people come. It's a short ceremony that only lasts about 10 minutes but it really means a lot to those who come. Sometimes people just stop or happen to be in the area. We welcome everyone.”
The ceremony is held at 9 a.m.
The annual Veterans Day program will be held at the cemetery at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘We Are FR’ fund going strong
- Retired postal worker picks $1M winner
- Police say Latrobe woman bought gun for boyfriend, who shot neighbor
- Scottdale to reconsider use of complaint forms
- Murrysville woman sues Giant Eagle over burns
- Graziani hired away from Latrobe as Penn Township’s manager
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- New Alexandria man charged with assaulting boy in 2009
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Bridge work a priority for PennDOT in Westmoreland
- Judge explains why suspect in East Liberty killings was freed