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A time for remembering

Veterans and families reflect on the sacrifices of those who fought.


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 30, 2000

A midmorning downpour erased any notion of holding the event outdoors, as is customary. Many folks scurried for their cars and headed home.

But about 100 others trudged into a large mausoleum, where they dried eyeglasses with paper napkins, brushed back wet hair and settled into chairs.

Considering the recent drought conditions, it's doubtful speakers thought about mentioning rain when they prepared their remarks. Still, they adjusted, and the much-needed precipitation almost became the day's theme.

Bill Ward, from Fero, thanked the remaining people for braving the elements. But that sacrifice was "not even close to the kind of sacrifice our veterans made for our country," he said.

"They never stopped fighting because of what the weather did," added Ward's colleague, Mark Fender.

"They experienced terrible storms, terrible weather, gunfire, conditions on the battlefield," County Commissioner Vicki Phillips said. "We must remember, lest we forget, and we must never allow ourselves to forget."

American flags were proudly displayed in front of homes and government buildings on Memorial Day, which is celebrated the last Monday in May. Many people enjoyed the holiday with friends and family, marking the unofficial beginning of summer with only a passing rememberance of the day's meaning.

To U.S. Rep. Karen Thurman, though, Memorial Day is a particularly poignant time.

Thurman, D-Dunnellon, told the crowd at Fero that her father, Lee Loveland, was an Air Force veteran who served during World War II and the Korean War. He died at age 43 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

"He represented the best of our young men and women at that time," Thurman said. "We as daughters, as sons, as mothers, as fathers, as grandparents come together to give thanks" for the sacrifices such people made.

The Rev. Henry Riffle, from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, was one of two ministers to deliver a benediction. Monday was a particularly difficult time for him, as well. His brother, Bill, died just two weeks ago at age 53. He was an Air Force veteran.

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