In a quiet ceremony at Village Green, American Legion Post 86 marked the solemn purpose of Memorial Day — remembering and honoring those who have fallen in military service to the nation.

Post Commander Katie Downey served as master of ceremonies for the event, which was unpublicized and conducted without sound reinforcement to limit crowd size due to COVID-19 restrictions. She introduced veteran Lee Hulse, who explained the symbolic meaning of the POW-MIA table, honoring those not present.

Keynote speaker was U.S. Navy veteran Jeff Mackey, who noted that the effort made to stage the second year of reduced-scale events is evidence of local veterans’ commitment to honor the fallen, no matter what.

The day has a personal impact for Mackey, who recalled a dear childhood friend who was killed while piloting helicopters in Vietnam. He displayed a memento of remembrance for his friend — a rubbing he took of his name engraved on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.

Mackey urged the assemblage to heed words of warning from 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

He asserted that “to truly honor our fallen we must now fight for, protect, and hand down the truth of our nation’s history to our children. Evil exists and is ever present to subvert truth. Revisionist historians are trying to rewrite the meaning of our past so that our youth hate their own country. The cancerous evil of Karl Marx’s ideology, and radical teachings like Critical Race Theory are being forced into grades K through 12. It even flows into our current military.”

He emphasized the importance of Christian religion to the foundations of the American republic, and noted as evidence of national character that, at the end of World War II, Americans rebuilt our vanquished foes.

John Ferguson and Earl Schroeder tolled a bell in remembrance of recently deceased veterans from Sisters (see sidebar below).

Bagpiper Steve Allely played “Highland Cathedral” in honor of the fallen.

An honor guard fired a salute and Sisters musician Chris Patrick concluded observances with “Taps.”