Coral Ridge hosts Memorial Day remembrance
The annual Memorial Day remembrance event at the Coral Ridge Funeral Home & Cemetery on Monday may have had a different look and feel this year, but the ceremony had the same meaning it’s had for nearly four decades: To remember those who gave their lives in service for this country.
Gone was the large tent for guests to sit under; attendees stood or placed chairs around the perimeter. Some wore masks. All tried to “social distance” as much as possible.
But tradition prevailed — and it was that sameness that made the 39th annual event in the Honor Garden so special.
Memorial Day is not a “happy” holiday. It is a solemn one in tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
As always, that included a posting of the colors; patriotic music this a year sung by Roy St. Onge; an honor roll honoring veterans who died this year; a gun salute and the playing of “Taps” by the VFW Post 8463; and “Amazing Grace” by the Guns & Hoses Pipe and Drum Corps.
Program chairman Chuck Warren, a U.S. Air Force veteran, got choked up as he spoke, saying that it is always an emotional day for him.
“I’m happy we were able to put this all together. The importance is to get everyone out here to honor this day,” Warren said. “It’s not about the barbecues and picnics. But it’s about the support of fallen veterans and their families.”
In Warren’s opening comments, he used something that Stephen Ambrose once wrote. “A memorial is not just a remembrance of sacrifices. It is a reminder to future generations that the torch of freedom is theirs to carry.”
Mayor Joe Coviello thanked those who are currently serving and said Memorial Day is a way for people to reconnect with those who served and were lost.
“Working together with those neighbors, friends and our community, we can ensure the sacrifices made by our finest and bravest never go unappreciated or that their memories are never forgotten,” Coviello said.
Guest speaker, State Rep. Dane Eagle, said he has many family members who served, including a grandfather who fought in World War II. He called those who paid the ultimate price “the foundation on which we stand today.”
“Focus on a face. Think of someone no longer with us who gave their lives. Maybe it’s someone you never met. I would encourage them to do some research,” Eagle said. “Think of them and remember the sacrifice they made so we can celebrate the freedoms we have today.”
Eagle also mentioned those fighting COVID-19 in the hospitals and on the streets, whether they be doctors and nurses, guardsmen or first responders, asking that they get a round of applause.
The Eggers family, a Gold Star family that traditionally comes to speak, did not come this year, instead attending the Memorial Day celebration at Fort McHenry with President Donald Trump, which they were invited to attend. Their son, Capt. Daniel W. Eggers, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004.
Among those attending was retired U.S. Army Major Brian Williams, who came in full dress with his wife, also a veteran.
Williams, who runs the JROTC program at Mariner High School, said he wanted to dress in his best for the fallen.
“It hits home for me because we had hundreds of soldiers that we served side by side with and was fortunate to be a commander. It’s always a day when I think of the soldiers who I served with who have fallen. For any veterans this is the most important day of the year,” Williams said.