&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; OROVILLE – The flags of two countries joined together to honor those who gave their lives in service of their country at a Memorial Day Ceremony held at Oroville’s Riverview Cemetery Monday.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Members of the American Legion from Oroville and Royal Canadian Legion from Osoyoos served as Color Guard at the ceremony which began at 10 a.m. As the Color Guard marched the flags of their two countries, as well as the Union Jack and the United Nations Flag, amongst others, waved majestically as well as colorfully, in the breeze. Veterans and those that joined them in the ceremony then came to attention as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Oh, Canada” were played.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “Comrades, this day is sacred with the almost visible presence of those who gave their lives in the service of our country and those others who have dropped their burdens by the wayside of life and have gone to their eternal rest,” began Walt Hart, Commander of Hodges Post #84 of the American Legion. “May the ceremonies of today deepen your reverence for our dead. Let us renew our pledge of loyalty to our country and its flag. Let us resolve by word and deed to emphasize the privilege and duty of patriotism,” said Hart.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Serving as Chaplain, Ardie Halvorsen gave an invocation thanking God and asking his help in remembering the valor and devotion of their departed comrades — not only those buried on land, but also those “who sleep beyond the seas” and those whose resting places are unknown. “Grant that the American Legion may preserve the high ideal for which our comrades died. May thy merciful blessings rest upon those they left behind. Keep us forever firm in righteousness, humble of heart and unselfish of purpose,” he said.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Vicki Hart recited “In Flanders Fields” a poem of just three stanzas that was written by a Canadian soldier, John McCrae MD, in Belgium during World War I. The poem is recited every year at the Memorial Day Ceremony in Oroville, as well as similar ceremonies held across the nation.
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.”
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Commander Hart again took up the ceremony, “Let us make ourselves the friend and brother, son and father of those who will not see their own again in mortal flesh. Let us grasp with fearless hands the flag so nobly borne before, and, like those others, plant it always on the battlements of righteousness.” He then asked those gathered to bow their heads in 30 seconds of silence in “solemn memory of the heroic dead.”
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; This was followed by Richard Sherman reading a short poem and Chaplain Halverson closing with another prayer before a wreath was laid at the grave of Major Hodges, a casualty of World War I for whom the Oroville Legion Post was named.
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Taps was played formally ending the ceremony. Hart asked that those present join with the Legionnaires at the Similkameen River Bridge where a wreath would be placed upon the water in honor of those who died at sea. “The flowers may wither, but the spirit of which they are the symbol will endure until the end of time,” said Hart.