“We are here today to remember that the freedom we enjoy as Americans came at a great price,” said Mark Noyes, who was the speaker at this year’s Irving Memorial March program on Sunday afternoon, May 24. “This is a sacred day, and this is a solemn occasion as we gather together to remember those who have sacrificially gone before us. They paid with their lives, sacrificing themselves, that we might retain the privilege of living as free people. We owe them this and we must never forget.”
The community of Irving met Sunday afternoon at the Irving United Methodist Church for the one-mile March to the cemetery. Frank Newberry served as the flag bearer and led the processional to the Irving Cemetery.
Pastor Sue Bryce of the Irving United Methodist Church offered an opening prayer, followed by remarks from program coordinator Janice Galer, who read the names of those who have been buried at the McCord Cemetery in the last year.
She made note that the Irving Cemetery has two Revolutionary War heroes buried there. She also mentioned Ross McPherson, Lamar Caulk and Lamar Hartman, who are all an integral part of Irving’s history.
After her remarks, participants were invited to join the singing of God Bless America and Melissa Jones read the Gettysburg Address.
Linda Denton and Galer provided a floral tribute to Moncravie and Miss Esther Schraut while Larry Pickerill read In Flanders Fields.
Denton also introduced this year’s special guest speaker, Mark Noyes of Hillsboro.
In his remarks, Noyes reflected on the fact that freedom is a gift, one that comes at a high price. He encouraged participants to remember the lives of those lost and dedicate themselves to vigilantly defend this gift from enemies.
Noyes shared quotes from several American war heroes and remembered three local soldiers who paid the ultimate price, including Larry Claybrook, Charles Irby and Ryan Buckley.
“The heart of this nation continues to beat because of the sacrificial blood of those patriots who died in service to a cause they considered greater than themselves,” Noyes said. “Those we honor today found something in life worth dying to protect. Their lives, and yes, their deaths, truly are the foundation of freedom we all know and enjoy as Americans.”
Before the program’s conclusion, Pastor Bryce offered a closing prayer, and members of the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard provided a salute to the dead.