The American Legion, Eckley E. Patch, Post 470 in Bath honored America’s fallen heroes during a reverent Memorial Day service on Sunday, May 30. Every year, the Legion and its members honor the men and women who have served and died during America’s wars at home and abroad.
After an opening prayer, flowers were presented to a memorial for Eckley E. Patch, the namesake of the legion and Bath’s first casualty of World War I.
“These flowers may wither, but their spirit may endure to the end of time,” said Post Commander Brian Radcliffe.
Radcliffe reminded the audience of the true meaning behind Memorial Day, beyond the picnics and baseball games: the over 1.3 million men and women who have died during America’s military conflicts.
“They gave up everything they had…to answer their nation’s call to duty,” he said. “Never forget those who died so we can celebrate…[or] the tens of thousands of our heroes who still feel they are there [in war].”
Fallen troops were honored with a 21-gun salute and a playing of Taps. Then, Radcliffe’s son, Michael, rang a bell in remembrance of the Legion members who have passed away over the past year.
Mayor Fiorella Mirabito, Borough Manager Brad Flynn, members of Bath Borough Council, and State Representative Ann Flood were also present.
“No flag, no flower can fully capture [our] gratitude,” said Rep. Flood.
“As a grateful nation, we have an obligation and a duty…to pay solemn honor,” Mayor Mirabito said in her remarks, before quoting President Ronald Reagan: “Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.”
“Some gave their today so we can have our tomorrow,” added Council President Mark Saginario.
The service’s guest of honor was Bath resident Staff Sergeant Onix Reyes who recently returned from one year of active duty in Kuwait. He was welcomed home by the audience.
“Know your family, community, and post are here for you,” Radcliffe told him.
At the event’s closing, Radcliffe had one request for all in attendance before they ventured off to their picnics and parties: “When you pass by many of the cemeteries in this town,” he said, “walk through with your family…you may be surprised by what you can learn from a small piece of granite and a little bronze plaque.”