HURRICANE – Every year on the last Monday in May we remember and honor the men and women of our armed forces who have died in service. Memorial Day is an official national holiday becoming so in 1971 and heralds the beginning of summer in the U.S. Throughout Washington County people are honoring those who have passed. While these events and traditions vary, one tradition remains the same. Every year people decorate the final resting places of their loved ones, as well as those service men and women who dedicated their lives to the defense of this country.
“It is a time when we reflect with thanks for the sacrifice of so many,” Johnathan Gillibrand of Washington City said.
Dozens of people made up of members of the American Legion, their family members, and everyday citizens gathered at the Hurricane City cemetery Sunday evening. There they placed flags on the resting places of every service member.
Two of these were John and Linda Spiry. John Spiry is a retired master sergeant in the United States Air Force who gave 20 years of service including service in the Vietnam War. John Spiry retired from the Air Force in 1976.
“I was at one base in Saigon, Vietnam, for six months, and while serving there I was exposed to Agent Orange,” John Spiry said.
Agent Orange was an herbicide and defoliant used in Vietnam to defoliate rural/forested land, depriving guerrillas of food and cover and clearing sensitive areas such as around base perimeters.
“I enjoyed my 20 years, and would do it again in a heartbeat,” John Spiry said.
Linda Spiry’s father served as a fighter pilot in World War II and was stationed at Wheeler air field in Honolulu, Hawaii, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She said:
(My father) was a fighter pilot with the pineapple pursuit squadron. He survived the bombing of Wheeler Air force base, during the attack on pearl. Today I strive as a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association to honor his memory.
Dennis Wilson served in the United States Army Special Forces division as a private first class, and is currently with the Hurricane chapter of the American Legion. He led Sunday’s flag-placing efforts. He said:
“We do this every year. We place a flag on the site of every veteran who served. It’s important to remember the sacrifice.
Please enjoy our photo gallery and join us in remembering those fallen and those serving.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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