Claire Fagan, a sixth grade student at Holy Family School in Fairmount, is the winner of the annual essay contest held in commemoration of Memorial Day. She read her essay after the Mass of Remembrance held Saturday May 28 at Holy Family Church. Fagan was awarded a $100 gift card from Wal-Mart for her efforts.
In attendance were some currently serving as well as many veterans representing the various armed forces and spanning eight decades. Both priest celebrants, Pastor Fr. Richard Prior and Msgr. Ronald Bill are also veterans.
The congregation was joined by Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle and the Voices of Faith Ecumenical Choir. Charles Cooney presented a display of military memorabilia and the Knights of Columbus collected items for the Frank Donati Care Package initiative for active military. Gold Star mother Dorothy Czajak lighted a memorial candle for soldiers who have given their lives, while Jon Fassinger and Nick Plato of the West Genesee High School Marching Band offered Taps.
The veterans filed from the church to a round of applause as the choir sang "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory."
What Memorial Day Means to Me
By Claire Fagan, grade six
Memorial Day is not just a day when we don't go to school or work. It's not just an ordinary day. It's not just the parades or the picnics. Memorial Day is much more than that. When you look it up on Google you get around 98,100,000 results. One of them says that "Memorial Day is dedicated to service men and women who gave their lives for freedom and our country. It is also a time to remember loved ones who have passed away." That may describe what Memorial Day is, but not really what it means.
My grandfather is a veteran. My cousin, right now, is serving our country. My neighbor is stationed in Afghanistan and the list goes on and on. You sometimes worry, and are scared, yet are also proud to know someone in uniform who is doing so much for others. I, myself, haven't known anyone who's died in a war but I can just imagine that you feel such grief at the loss yet at the same time are proud. Our country is better because of their sacrifice. Each soldier who has died has made a difference.