Coalville Memorial Day attendees weather the rain
May 26, 2015
A light rain was falling as attendees and members of American Legion Post 93 gathered for a Memorial Day observance at the Coalville Cemetery Monday. Then, as Legion member Doug Geary recounted the sacrifices of three young local soldiers who perished in combat during World War II, the rain turned into a downpour and the dozens of people clutching umbrellas were soaked.
But, out of respect for the fallen, the crowd remained staunchly in place.
They sang along to the songs representing the various branches of the military in honor of their own service or that of a relative’s and everyone joined in the finale, "God Bless America."
"We had a good crowd today, in spite of the rain," Geary said. "They stuck it out."
The annual memorial ceremony drew a large crowd of about 300. The three World War II veterans, one from Coalville and two from Henefer, were honored as part of an ongoing effort by the members of Coalville’s Legion post to recognize local veterans who were killed in action.
"I think it’s important that the younger generation understands the sacrifices that were made," Geary said after the ceremony. "And we don’t get that as readily today as I think in the past."
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On Monday, members of the American Legion traveled to cemeteries in Wanship, Echo, Upton, Henefer, Hoytsville and Coalville to honor veterans who were buried there.
"It really just comes down to remembering," Geary said of the holiday.
Geary comes from a military family and is one of four brothers to have served in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Germany from 1981 to 1985. His father served in the Navy during World War II and was stationed overseas when Geary’s oldest brother was born.
When he returned to Coalville, Geary said his father participated in the ceremony ever year and would bring him to the cemetery when he was younger.
"I remember coming up here as a young kid," he said. "And I remember it was something meaningful, it wasn’t just another holiday."
Terry Fielding and her brother, Coalville resident Chad Staley, were there to pay respect to their father, Army veteran Owen Staley. He died on May 14.
"We wanted to be here together today to celebrate his service," Fielding said. "Our father was very patriotic and he was always very adamant about being here. I think he passed that along to us."
Staley also felt it was important to continue the family traditions his father had started for him and his siblings.
"It’s a family tradition to go to the graves and remember our ancestors and everything they’ve done for us," he said.
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