Despite the inclement weather, Memorial Day services went on across Northampton County on Monday, May 27. The Sons of Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, Captain Theodore H. Howell Camp No. 48, continued its 114-year-long tradition of honoring the fallen by visiting 10 cemeteries throughout the Northampton area, including the Allen Union Cemetery in Northampton Borough. 

Due to rain, services at the cemetery were moved indoors and held at Grace United Church of Christ on Lincoln Avenue. Richard Webster, superintendent of Allen Union Cemetery, offered the welcome message and invocation.

Webster, joined by members of the community, honored the fallen men and women who have “given their lives so that we may stand here and still live in freedom.” 

“Those that are gone have created a clear path,” he said. “Take their memories, take their dreams, and walk forward.”

The Sons of Veterans then recited the Gettysburg Address before honoring the fallen with a rifle salute and a performance of “Taps” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the Tri-Community Marching Band. The marching band also performed “Nearer, My God to Thee” and “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies,” while Eugene Kutzler performed a bagpipe solo. 

The morning’s keynote address was delivered by Northampton Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst.

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” he said. “And mankind has not learned. As I speak, there are probably people on this globe dying from war.”

A Vietnam veteran, Brobst received his selected service letter in 1967. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a World War II veteran, who passed away when Brobst was nine from a service-related disability. 

“We are obligated as living members to remember those who have fallen,” Brobst continued. 

While Brobst said he could not imagine what soldiers in the Civil War or World War II went through, he stated, “I can imagine what it was like to be under a mortar attack and having people running here and there and dropping.”

“I don’t know their names, but I will never forget their sacrifice,” he said. “I do not know how we can ever repay these people.”

But they were not the only ones who made a sacrifice. Brobst shared the story of his mother, who suffered greatly not knowing whether her son would return. She was admitted to the Allentown State Hospital during his service, and he was unable to take leave to visit her.

“I would have you leave here today thanking not just the veterans…but the families they left behind.”

On a weekend often celebrated with shopping, barbecues and beach getaways, Brobst, Webster and the Sons of Veterans reminded those in attendance that these freedoms would not be possible if not for the sacrifices of America’s armed forces and their families. And we have a duty as well, a duty to walk forward on the path they have created.

Said Webster in his benediction: “We must continue to carry the burden of their sacrifice.”


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