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A day of remembering at lakeside Cemetery

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A day of remembering. Remembering our fallen heroes, veterans of all wars and loved ones who have passed away. Memorial Day has special meaning for nearly everyone and will always be a day to remember.

The guest speaker at the Hancock Memorial Day service held Monday at Lakeside Cemetery was Ryan Spencer. He grew up in Hancock, the son of Donald and Janet Spencer, and graduated from Hancock High School. Ryan served with Charlie Company 1-151 FA from 1999 through 2006. He was deployed overseas with Charlie Company from October 2004 through December 2005 in Baghdad Iraq.

Since that deployment Memorial Day has taken on an even larger meaning for Ryan. He will now recall the Memorial Day when he stood on a Drill Pad in Baghdad and honored three of Charlie Company's fallen soldiers. One of the soldiers was a close friend. The company observed a moment of silence and then listened to the national anthem. And they remembered their fallen buddies.

Ryan also recalls Memorial Days as a young kid growing up in Hancock. He recalled the marching band and standing in the crowd listening to individuals speak. His parents told him that he had to attend this ceremony to honor and thank the people who served their country, which was the meaning behind Memorial Day.

"In those days the messages never sank in or really made me think," stated Spencer. "Until my tour in Iraq, where I had the unfortunate circumstance of losing a good friend, a colleague and two other soldiers I knew well."

Along with these reasons to observe Memorial Day Spencer also stated that the day gives us an opportunity to take time from our structured schedules.

"We stop and gather with friends and family. Some of us plan events, and some of us plan to be at a local cemetery honoring, remembering and thanks the soldiers not here with us anymore." stated Spencer, "There is no right or wrong way to honor our soldiers. I just ask people to take a brief moment to stop and think about all the wonderful things they are able to do."

These include speaking freely about government officials, holding opinions without circumstance, and electing those who we think would be better suited for political office. For these freedoms we need to thank the soldiers and their families. But more importantly thank the family of the soldier who is not here today and thank the soldier be remembering as often as we can.

"Memorial Day for me is every day," added Spencer, "I cannot remember a day that has gone by that I have not thought about my friend Ssgt. David Day. It could be because he does not go to work with me every day like he use to, or it could be because I no longer get those phone calls telling me about the crazy night of work he had. I promise I never will forget. As I am sure many others will not forget."

Spencer went on to say that we should take a moment every day to stop and think about what is going on in our world. We are at war and war produces casualties.

"Remembering is hard," stated Spencer, "It is a soldier on the front lines, the soldier that has been injured and a soldier who has been killed defending our country, who gave us our rights and our ability to enjoy freedom."

"Remember this every time you have spoken your opinion. Furthermore always take the opportunity when presented to say thanks to a soldier, a veteran or a family member of a fallen Soldier," Spencer concluded.

Pastor Becky Worner then spoke and took Spencer's advice literally by saying "Thank you Ryan for your service to our country."

She went on to say that she had recently heard that the U.S. Terror Alert is now the highest since 911. If that is true there is much to fear in our world. Yet we are invited to not be afraid. "God is our refuge and strength, our help in times of trouble," Worner stated.

As Americans we are blessed and we turn back to him in thanks and be mindful of His presence. "Our safety is in living in the blessing of God, not in the ways of war," stated Pastor Worner.

Worner also sang several patriotic numbers joined by the audience. Graves of Veterans and VFW Auxiliary members were marked with flags.

Roger Blair read the Roll Call of the Dead. The Hancock Cemetery Board served refreshments after the program.